Retired New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms created a firestorm on Monday when he said that current Big Blue signal caller Eli Manning is not one of the elite QBs in the NFL. It's a debate that has raged in recent years, but one many thought was put to bed when Manning led the Giants to their second Lombardi Trophy in five years, while also winning his second Super Bowl MVP. Apparently not, and Simms made it a point to defend himself on Wednesday, maintaining that he doesn't believe Peyton's younger brother is elite.
“I can say with all honesty, as it was coming out of my mouth I went, ‘Oh boy, this will really create some controversy,’” Simms said on WFAN. “But I still said it. You know, I could have — like I’ve done — could have said ‘You know, let’s redo that,’ because at that time we were taping a little segment. But I do stand by how I meant it.”
Simms didn't initially classify who he thought the elites of the league were, but when pressed, he elaborated on the criteria and dropped a few names … including the man Eli has bested twice in the Super Bowl.
“When I think of elite, I think of great accomplishments with unusual, very good, incredible skills on the field,” said Simms. “I didn’t even think about who it would be, but when I was saying — you know, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and I think Aaron Rodgers kind of fits in that mold. The rest we’ll see about.”
Great accomplishments? Check. Very good, incredible skills? Check (see pass to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI). Unusual? Sure, E-to-Tyree is far from the norm, so … check.
Manning appears to meet the standards set forth by Simms, but we're certainly not here to convince him. There are plenty of those who don't view Manning as elite and never will. He doesn't care. Nor should he. He's focused on the next game as he continues his quest for his third Lombardi Trophy. And perhaps his third Super Bowl MVP.
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