Here we go again with the lack of respect for Eli Manning!
The Sporting News is out with its rankings of the top 25 quarterbacks in the NFL. Eli is ranked 12th, and looking at the list just makes me shake my head.
Without even looking, I'm sure you can guess that Tony Romo is ranked ahead of Eli. If you guessed that, you'd be right. Romo is No. 7 on this list.
Romo being ranked ahead of Eli doesn't bug me as much as you might think. I'm getting used to the supposed "experts" being fooled by Romo's numbers and his celebrity status, and forgetting the bottom line -- which is that Eli has gotten the job done when it counts and playboy Romo hasn't.
It's several of the other names ahead of Eli that really have me ticked off.
- Brett Favre at No. 8. Sorry, but how can Favre even be on this list? Technically, he's not even in the league. Even if he was, or is, or will be again sometime soon, he's not the Favre of his glory days. Will he play like he did last season (66.5% completions, 28 TDs, 15 INTs) or like he did in 2005 and 2006, when he combined for 38 TDs and 47 INTs)? He shouldn't even be here at all.
- Philip Rivers at No. 9. What, exactly, has Rivers proven? OK, he is a tough guy as evidenced by how he played hurt in the playoffs last season. OK, he can put up nice numbers playing in beautiful weather all season (better than 60% completions in each of his two seasons as a starter). But, what has he really accomplished? Nothing, as far as I can see.
Donovan McNabb at No. 10. A couple of years ago when a healthy McNabb was at his peak this wouldn't have been an argument. Now? You have to question McNabb's shoulder, his durability AND his ability to win. Don't forget, the last time the Eagles were good Jeff Garcia was quarterbacking and McNabb was feeling unloved.
- David Garrard at No. 11. This is the one that really makes me want to scream, so I will. What the F--- are you people thinking? David Garrard? Better than Eli? Based on what? Yes, he had a nice quarterback rating of 102.2 last season and he only threw three interceptions while tossing 18 touchdown passes. But, he threw 204 fewer passes than Eli, so you can hardly say Jacksonville was relying on him to win games the way the Giants relied on Eli. The guy has been in the league 6 years, and he's had one good year. You're going to tell me you would rather have him leading your team than Eli? Please. That's nonsense.
I guess that, in a way, I should be happy with these rankings. After all, a year ago SI.com's Peter King had Eli 22nd -- behind such brilliant quarterbacks as Jake Delhomme, Chad Pennington, Jon Kitna, Michael Vick (yes, Michael Vick), Steve McNair, Matt Leinart and J.P. Losman.
I would have thought that Eli's monster playoff performance, earning Super Bowl MVP honors and outplaying Garcia, Romo, Favre and Tom Brady would have gained him more respect than to be 12th on this list.
Granted, Eli has not yet had a monster regular season. His career quarterback rating is 73.4, and he has never completed 60% of his passes in a single season. This may simply be the kind of quarterback he is. A talented, tough guy who looks brilliant at times and awful at others. He may never put up great overall numbers -- but we know he can get the job done when it matters most.
In a way, his career is heading down a path similar to that of Phil Simms, who is looking like a runaway winner in our voting for the quarterback spot on our Big Blue View All-Time Giants Team.
Simms was not a numbers guy. He only went to two Pro Bowls in his 14-year career, and only completed 60% of his passes once. But, Simms was a winner. You never felt the Giants were at a disadvantage with Simms under center, and you always felt he could win the big games.
It is becoming that way with Eli, and that is just fine with me. If it's not enough to please the "experts," who cares? If it's enough to win big games, and maybe get the Giants another Super Bowl title or two before he's done, that's enough for me.