For a long time I doubted Eli Manning as an elite player. I had him lumped in a second tier of quarterbacks just a notch below the best. My thought was that he’s a very good quarterback that still makes too many silly throws. Then again he’s a gunslinger, so that’s what I should expect. He had a few of those “What the?” moments in the NFC Conference Championship game, but he also went 32 of 58 for 316 yards with 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
What gives his numbers more flair is that he performed while being hit, sacked (6 times), hit again, and pressured most of the night. I think Peyton’s little brother is on par with the Elite quarterbacks of the game now.
Eli Manning is probably best known to the casual Super Bowl audience for his Super Bowl MVP performance in 2007 that was highlighted by the unlikely scramble, escape, and long throw to David Tyree that was pinned to his helmet before securing the catch. That moment has been replayed countless times through the years.
Manning had another defining moment during a crucial point in the Conference Championship game on Sunday where he completed a pass, took a hard shot, then got up with the awareness to call a time out. His uniform dirtied, helmet cockeyed, and shoulder pad exposed, Eli Manning is starting to look the part of an Elite quarterback.
He just finished up the ’11 season throwing for nearly 5,000 yards, and he has his team on the brink of another Super Bowl title. In 3 playoff games this year he’s thrown for 923 yards with a 61.8 completion percentage and 8 TDs to only 1 pick. And he just led his team to a record 5th road playoff victory. The bottom line is; in the big games, Eli plays big.