Continuing my series of reasons why someone like myself, who has every reason to be pissed off about this Super Bowl, should actually be excited about it.
Reason #2: Eli Manning
Obviously, the big media angle for this year’s game is that it is a rematch of one of the most memorable Super Bowls ever. But there’s a definite secondary angle being played up as well, and that is the legacy of Eli Manning.
If you recall, leading up to each of the past two Super Bowls, the media was making a big deal about one of the quarterbacks having a chance to secure his legacy.
For the 2010 Super Bowl, everyone was saying that with a second Super Bowl victory to go along with his statistical accomplishments, Peyton Manning could claim the title of “greatest quarterback ever.”
Of course the Colts lost, thanks in part to a late interception thrown by Manning. Now his legacy is probably going to be “Put up great statistics, but he wasn’t great in the clutch, and wasn’t as good as Tom Brady.”
Last year, the QB whose legacy was on the line was Steelers’ Ben Roehtlisberger. The talk was that if he was able to win a third Super Bowl, he would definitely be staking some serious Hall of Fame credentials.
Postgame, people realized that the Hall of Fame talk might have been premature considering that he’s played poorly in two of the three Super Bowls he’s been in. (Yes, the Steelers won his first Super Bowl, but that game was a sham, and Roethlisberger sucked in it)
Don’t worry, Big Ben’s legacy as an accused rapist remains intact.
This year, the popular theory is that a second Super Bowl ring would elevate Eli above his brother in the quarterback pantheon.
Side note: Maybe I shouldn’t assume that everyone reading this doesn’t realize that Peyton and Eli are brothers. But I’m guessing that you either already knew that or stopped reading after the first paragraph or so.
I understand that quarterbacks are often measured by the success of their team, and especially by the number of championships they win. But is there any rational football fan out there who thinks that Eli is better than Peyton?
Statistically, it isn’t even worth comparing the two of them. And while Peyton has a reputation for disappointing playoff performances, let’s keep in mind that Eli hasn’t been the most clutch performer either.
You might think that like many quarterbacks, it simply took him some time to hit his stride, and early career playoff failings shouldn’t be held against him. After all, he played great in the 2007-2008 playoffs and was a major part of the Giants Super Bowl win that season.
2007 was his fourth season in the league, and he had turned 27 just before that year’s Super Bowl. That game should have marked him entering the prime of his career. So then how did the next few years go?
In the 2008 playoffs, the top seeded Giants were upset by the sixth seeded Eagles. In the game, the Giants offense was responsible for a whopping 9 points.
How did Eli do in the 2009 and 2010 playoffs? Hmmm…I can’t find any statistics for that. That’s because the Giants didn’t even make the playoffs those seasons!
If we’re going to elevate Eli based on two potential Super Bowl victories, don’t we also have to hold it against him that his team didn’t even make the playoffs in two seasons of what should have been his prime?
I don’t have any special dislike for Eli, I just find him to be a bit overrated. As mentioned in part one, his passing seems to be overly reliant on receivers grabbing jump balls, and in some cases, pinning the ball to their helmets.
When I watch Tom Brady play, I get a feeling of “Wow, this guy is really good.” When I watch Eli, my thoughts are usually along the lines of “How did the receiver catch that ball?
He certainly isn’t a bad quarterback. I’d rate him as a good quarterback who has occasional flashes of greatness. He’s obviously a guy you can win a Super Bowl with if he’s on a hot streak and everything breaks right.
Of course, I’ve just described about half the quarterbacks in the NFL.
Maybe I underrate him because I’ve watched too many games when he makes killer mistakes. For example, the Giants lost to the Eagles in 2009 partially because he tripped onto his face and fumbled the football. And then the following season, he somehow did the SAME EXACT THING!
He also doesn’t help his case with the stupid faces he makes when something goes wrong.
Of course, Peyton is pretty famous for making stupid faces as well. You’d think that at some point, their father might have sat them down and said, “Boys, you’ve got all the tools to be great NFL quarterbacks. You’ve got great physical skills and high football IQs. There’s just one more thing you have to do. STOP MAKING THOSE IDIOTIC FACES WHEN YOU MAKE A MISTAKE! YOU LOOK LIKE DAMNED FOOLS!”
So there is the real reason to be excited about the Super Bowl: A chance to watch Eli Manning screw up, make his stupid face, and then listen to everyone in the media backtrack about his legacy.
I’ve decided to include this bonus clip from Eli’s first game in the NFL. This always brings a smile to my face: