Philip Rivers vs. Eli Manning. I really wanted to avoid a 'which guy is better' debate this week, but I guess I can't. At least not completely. Not now that our friends over at Bolts From The Blue have brought it up. And, not since you guys are talking about it some in Fanposts here and at BTFB.
These two will be forever linked by the 2004 trade that brought Eli to the Giants and landed Rivers in San Diego. And their careers will always be compared with Ben Roethlisberger, the other big-time quarterback drafted in 2004. My guess is this might still be a topic of discussion long after all three are done playing.
You know what, I really don't care about this debate. I used to go over and over in my mind whether I thought the Giants did the right thing by making the deal for Eli instead of just picking Roethlisberger. I really don't care to think about it any more.
I think it's pointless to try and figure out which guy is better. Rivers' career stats in terms of completion percentage and quarterback rating are clearly better than Eli's. For that matter, so are Roethlisberger's. It's hardly a fair fight, though, since Rivers is piling up number in sunny California where he rarely has to worry about wind, rain or cold.
My point is this. All three teams have darn good quarterbacks they should be thrilled with. Roethlisberger's numbers are up and down, but he has two rings. Eli has struggled the past couple of weeks, but he has a ring, has gotten better each NFL season and could well end up as the best quarterback the Giants franchise has ever had. Rivers has no rings, but he has already proven to be a gutsy, winning quarterback. If the Chargers ever put a good enough team around him he will get them a ring.
As far as I am concerned, the whole thing has worked out well for everybody. I like the guy the Giants have, and that's good enough for me.
By the way, we have always considered Eli a 'clutch' quarterback. Well, Forbes.com of all places has finally come up with a statistical way of finding out just who the best 'comeback quarterbacks' are. It's a fascinating read, a fascinating though flawed method, and I think you will be surprised at how well Eli fares by this measurement. In fact, all three quarterbacks we are talking about here fare well.