Toggle to Manic Mode: Eli Manning’s stature is on the rise.
Yes, in total manic fashion, a month after we have stopped playing football, we are shifting into another gear to inflate the already high opinion of Eli Manning.
Cynics out there are already groaning. They are pointing out that the same bipolars who were trashing the guy for every sin just months ago are now going gaga in the same inordinate way. Perhaps.
My reply? That was before I saw a replay of the Super Bowl.
We noted in yesterday’s post that David Diehl (whether tired or not) became a human turnstile for Adalius Thomas in the final drive. So the conclusion from yesterday’s evidence is that the Giants can use a Left Tackle so that Diehl goes back to Guard.
But what about the SECOND CONCLUSION?!… The stock price of Eli Manning has to be going north. Thomas was in his face constantly, and Manning was still putting the ball out there accurately right in front of the pressure. He got chased from behind by Thomas on a few of those runs RIGHT too, or else he would have done even better. If Manning does not get all of that pressure from Thomas he would have been off the charts good.
There were some questions (by others) about Manning’s worthiness as Super Bowl MVP. The implication was that the defense (specifically Justin Tuck) deserved it because w/o the defense he is not even in the position to win the game. But after seeing Manning harassed by Thomas almost every play, it is HANDS DOWN clear that Manning was the deliver of victory in every way possible. If he did not have the CONTINUOUS BREAKDOWNS IN PROTECTION, he would have been far more effective in leading the team to a TD (if that is at all possible). It also points to the other widely held understanding that the Patriots did not lose this game- The Giants simply wrested the game away from them. And the replay of that final drive shows it was Manning who was largely responsible for that. Football is a team sport, and eleven players get a drive done. But upon further review, Manning picked this team up and carried everyone.
There is a very good article about Manning in coldhardfootballfacts.com. Their thesis? That this was the only sub-2 minute drive for a championship where a TD was NEEDED for victory. Unitas needed three points for a tie. Starr needed three points for a tie. Montana needed three points for a tie. Manning needed a Touchdown for the championship and nothing less would do.
Hmmm.. Starr, Montana, Unitas… with Manning going up against…Brady. Are you noticing a pattern here? Manning seems to be hanging out with some pretty impressive company. Speaking of good company at QB, how many players went through the Gauntlet of Garcia (4 Pro Bowls), Romo (2 Pro Bowls), Farve (9 Pro Bowls) and Brady (4 Pro Bowls)? That is FOUR Pro Bowl Quarterbacks. 19 Pro Bowls. Two future Hall Of Famers. Two future Hall of Fame Quarterbacks who will arguably be considered amongst the Top 10 QBs of all time. Now obviously Manning does not play AGAINST these Quarterbacks. His defense is the unit that faces them. But at the end of the day, he must do more against those teams than those Quarterbacks do against the Giants; he faced them all and won.
We have stated before that Eli Manning has a free pass for life because he has delivered a championship to the Giants. How much more can he accomplish? He has the ability to play as big as he wants in the biggest of games. The legacy he leaves for the Giants is in his hands.