New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has never been a stranger to criticism. Since the very moment he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers until the conclusion of the 2013 season, he has routinely taken verbal beatings from just about everyone. However, Eli-hate has really been kicked into high gear this offseason and we have now officially deemed it "The Year of Eli-Hating."
About once or twice a week we find ourselves writing a story about how Manning is the most overpaid player in the NFL or how he'll have a hard time adjusting to Ben McAdoo's new offense. We've also found ourselves writing articles about how other quarterbacks are certain to have better seasons than him, how he's no longer an elite quarterback or any number of other criticisms — criticisms that sometimes come in the form of blatant personal attacks.
That nonsense continued again on Wednesday, as ESPN's Mike Sando compiled a report of sorts that ranked all NFL quarterbacks on a tier-by-tier basis using the input of 26 members of team personnel, including eight General Managers and 11 head coaches.
Manning ended up in the second tier of quarterbacks, tying for 8th overall with Matt Ryan, Tony Romo and Russell Wilson. However, of those eight General Managers and three team personnel, none of them put Eli in the first tier. In fact, one anonymous General Manager went as far as to call Manning a poor decision-marker who couldn't do things by himself (we call it a gun-slinger, like many other Hall of Famer quarterbacks were).
"I see Eli having a hard time generating things on his own," the GM said. "I don't see a great decision-maker. He has never struck me as a take-charge, carry-the-team type of guy."
Apparently this General Manager missed the final offensive drives from both Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI — most notably, Manning's perfect pass to Mario Manningham along the sidelines in Super Bowl XLVI.
But we digress…
It didn't end there. Another head coach went on to say that Manning is really only as good as the weapons around him and that without a big wide receiver, there's not much he's going to be able to do on his own.
"He is really a [tier] two when you supply him with the right weapons," a head coach said. "He is a guy that has the ultimate trust in a big wide receiver."
Opinions on Eli have always been mixed and will likely continue to be until he finally retires. He could go on to pass for 5,000 yards, 50 touchdowns and fewer than 10 interceptions and critics would still say he got lucky, is overrated or that it was a direct result of the talent around him.
At the end of the day (royalties to Antrel Rolle), Manning is a two-time Super Bowl Champion and two-time Super Bowl MVP. No amount of luck doubles those things up — you don't just trip and fall into success in the NFL. This league is far too talented and there is far too much parity. The only way you win two titles and go home with two MVPs is if you went out there and earned it. Period.
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