Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy 4 Year Anniversary, Eli Manning

On this day 4 years ago, Eli Manning was selected first overall by the New York Giants via a trade with the San Diego Chargers. It was a historic day in the land of Big Blue, and I was ready to run out and purchase a #10 jersey. Before I could, my roommate at the time, who was quite handy with a roll of masking tape, converted his Ike Hillard jersey into a Manning jersey and wore it around all weekend (I came up with the cash shortly thereafter convinced that Eli was the future of the Giants).

The early going was tough for Eli. In the season before he was drafted, his brother Peyton broke the single season touchdown record with 49 TD passes and was named NFL MVP nearly unanimously. In 2005-2006, some guy named Ben Rothel-something, the 11th overall pick from that other U of Miami (tell me that doesn’t confuse Jeremy Shockey) becomes the youngest QB to win a Super Bowl. As Eli got his feet wet, the Chargers were looking pretty smart. Phillip Rivers was being groomed by Drew Brees . The other draft picks that came in the trade brought the Chargers up and coming star Shawn Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding. When Rivers beat out Brees for the starting job, even I was starting to doubt the Giants selection – and mind you, I was on the Eli Manning band wagon even as others drowned while fording the river or died of cholera. Wait a minute…wrong wagon

Anyway, you all know the story. Eli, whose name is of course derived from the Greek for “Answered Prayer for the New York Media’s Original Whipping Boy, Chad Pennington” showed flashes of greatness for the next few seasons but just couldn’t seem to string together enough quality wins to be considered an elite QB, which was the very least the public demanded of him. He, of course, answered the calls in the 2008 playoffs and Super Bowl XLII with a performances for the record books and did the world a favor by knocking off the undefeated Patriots.

So what do you think the future holds for Eli Manning? Is he over that “hump” that NFL broadcasters keep talking about? (I don’t know about you, but I feel like with every snap, another broadcaster is saying, “This is the turning point of Manning’s career”). How long/will the New York media give him a pass? What happens the next time the throws three interceptions in a game? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Crasher,

I don't think Eli will ever put up Peyton numbers, but I do think he has turned the corner. I feel like so much of the issue for him was a body language/confidence/leadership problem, and I think the performance in the Superbowl will give him the swagger to succeed in the future. He definitely has the physical gifts and intellegence to be a top flight NFL QB.

Still, I think you have to be pretty happy if you are Chargers, despite Eli's success. Rivers has shown some guts, and is a good leader (and may have turned the corner himself with his playoff performance), even though he isn't as good a passer as Eli. I think you probably give the Eli the edge in the QB battle.

Still, throwing Merriman and Kaeding into the equation gives the Chargers a huge advantage here, as Merriman is game changer on defense. Just ask any other AFC west team if they would rather face Eli twice a year, or Rivers and Merriman twice a year, and they'll pick the former.

-marek malik

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