Super Bowl 46 is over with the New York Giants winning a second championship in the last four years. Eli Manning lays claim to a second Most Valuable Player Award and another trip to Disney World. Eli Manning had a masterful performance in the game, going 30 of 40, for 296 yards, and one touchdown. Manning also had another clutch throw, with his pass to Mario Manningham on the last drive, reminiscent of the David Tyree catch in his previous Super Bowl. Eli Manning is riding high and the world seems to have taken the trip with him but has he now taken the “throne” that his brother sat upon just one season ago?
Peyton Manning before this injury laden season was regarded as the top quarterback in the National Football League in most circles and in all others at least number two. Since his rookie season in 1998, Peyton Manning has been firmly entrenched as the leader of the Indianapolis Colt offense. As he has progressed throughout his career he has taken arguably the greatest control of an offense that a quarterback has ever had the ability to have. Peyton Manning in his first year threw for 3,739 yards. He has thrown for 4,000 plus yards in every season since, with the exception of 2005. Peyton Manning out of 208 games played, has 7,210 attempts, 4,682 completions for 54,828 yards. Along with the completions and yards he has 399 touchdown passes against 198 interceptions, and an average passer rating of 94.9. And how quickly fans forget, just last season the elder Manning had his best season in yardage, passing for 4,700.
You cannot accurately compare and contrast the careers of Peyton and Eli Manning unless you have a preference in your statistics. Peyton has played longer, 14 seasons in comparison to eight, but deeper than that you have to analyze the team philosophies for which they play. The New York Giants, even in the modern era of exploding offenses have always adopted the philosophy of a run-first, downfield pass attacking team. From Otis Anderson to Dave Meggett to Tiki Barber, the Giants have wanted to run the ball first, control the clock, and play great defense. Eli has never been given as great of responsibility for an offense as Peyton. From 2005 to 2008 Eli averaged nearly 3,400 yards passing per season and then in 2009 he passed for his first 4,000 yard season. He exploded for 4,933 yards this past season, a career high, and a second Super Bowl.
Some people measure the effectiveness of a quarterback or hand out the “BEST” title based on the amount of championships won. This leads to a very “slippery slope” and to a small degree “bandwagon-ism” because from that point of view Trent Dilfer is better than Dan Marino, Doug Williams is better than Jim Kelly. Eli is one up on Peyton in the championship column but be really careful to call him BETTER.
Jamie Walker can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @coachjdub21.