By Anthony Carillo
It is true what people have been saying during the 2011 NFL Playoffs; you can not spell elite without Eli. Eli Manning finally stepped out of his brother’s large shadow yesterday as Eli led the Giants on a fourth quarter comeback to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl 46, as well winning his second Super Bowl MVP award.
Eli was calm, cool, and collective during the whole game, not forcing the ball down field and making plays when they needed to be made. The Giants were firing on all cylinders during the game, and the offense played keep away from the Patriots offense, which left Tom Brady helpless on the sidelines. The Giants dominated time of possession, holding onto the football for 37 minutes to the Patriots 22 minutes. Eli showed the poise and confidence to be regarded as an elite quarterback, and every time the Giants fell behind, Eli always had an answer.
Eli finished the game with 30 completions to 40 pass attempts, for 296 yards and 1 touchdown, giving him a quarterback rating of 103.8, but the best stat on his stat sheet is that the Giants offense did not commit 1 turnover. He was the field general, the captain, the play maker, and the calming influence on that sideline when things did not go the Giants way.
Now Eli has 2 super bowl rings and 2 super bowl MVP trophies, compared to Peyton Manning’s 1 super bowl ring and 1 super bowl MVP trophy. The debate has already begun about which Manning is truly the better Manning. If you go by stats alone, then Peyton Manning wins that debate in a landslide, because Peyton has 4 NFL MVP awards, has set the record for most consecutive 12 win seasons, and proved to all of us this year that he truly is the glue that holds the Colts together. If you go by wins, clutch wins and comebacks, then Eli Manning has to get the edge. This year he had 8 fourth quarter or overtime comeback victories, and some of them came against very good opponents.
Did Eli Manning secure a spot in canton right next to his brother Peyton? Some will say yes that Eli is now a lock for the hall of fame, but in my opinion he still has some work to do. Yes, he joins an elite class of quarterbacks to win 2 super bowls and 2 super bowl MVP awards, but he is still a young quarterback and still have quite a few playing years left in him. I see Eli Manning winning another super bowl before he hangs up the cleats, and at that point, then you can start fitting him for a jacket and make room next to Peyton Manning in Canton, Ohio.