Eli Manning is arguably the best quarterback in New York Giants franchise history. He isn’t, however, perfect. Let’s build the “perfect” Giants quarterback using traits from those who have played the position for the team.
Size — Kerry Collins
Collins, who led the Giants to a Super Bowl in 2001 and was the quarterback from 1999-2003, is a solid 6-foot-5, 248 pounds. In other words, he is a big man, bigger than the 6-5, 240-pound Ben Roethlisberger. Eli Manning is 6-4, 218 and Phil Simms was 6-3, 216. But, if you could get a guy the size of Collins/Roethlisberger who isn’t a plodding, stationary target I would take it.
Durability — Eli Manning
Umm ... no brainer. The guy has 194 straight starts, including the postseason.
Let’s face it, Manning can do a lot of wonderful things but moving around isn’t one of them. When he is running with the ball it’s hold your breath time for the Giants and their fans. It is downright scary.
The guy you want here is Fran Tarkenton, the Russell Wilson of his era. A Hall of Famer, Tarkenton quarterbacked the Giants from 1967-71, in-between stints with the Minnesota Vikings.
The video below includes Tarkenton highlights from his days with both the Vikings and Giants.
Football IQ — Manning
This is a purely subjective choice. Look at any of the top quarterbacks in Giants history — Tarkenton, Y.A. Tittle, Charlie Conerly, Simms — and you can probably make an argument for each. I will go with Manning because of the complexity of defenses in the modern game and all of the things quarterbacks are asked to do now at the line of scrimmage. Even though quarterbacks don’t call their own plays they have never been asked to do as much as they are now.
This category has to be here, but I don’t have the answer. Manning is the most prolific passer in franchise history, but does he have the best pure arm? Did Collins? Maybe Simms? Odell Beckham? I really don’t know. Maybe it’s actually journeyman Kent Graham. He did make one of the greatest throws in franchise history.
Big-game ability — Manning, Phil Simms
Considering their Super Bowl performances, I’m calling this one a toss-up. Maybe the edge goes to Eli because he did it twice, but I’m not going to diss Simms.
Nicknames — Jared Lorenzen
No quarterback in Giants’ history has had more, or better, nicknames than one-time backup QB Jared Lorenzen. “Hefty Lefty,” “The Pillsbury Throwboy,” “J Load,” and “Battleship Lorenzen” are just a few.