The recently released ratings for Madden NFL 19 is just the latest example. Thirty-five quarterbacks are ranked higher than Manning (who received a 76 overall). There is no surprise that Tom Brady (99), Aaron Rodgers (99), and Drew Brees (91) are ranked higher. Quarterbacks like Carson Wentz (86), Jared Goff (83), and Dak Prescott (82) also received higher ratings than Manning, though there may be some debate.
The disrespect is blatant when quarterbacks like Case Keenum (82), Tyrod Taylor (81), Blake Bortles (80), and Sam Bradford (79) all received higher rankings than Manning. Three quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield-81, Lamar Jackson-79, Josh Rosen-78) each received a higher ranking despite having never taken an NFL snap.
Manning, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, has never been consistently mentioned among the top quarterbacks of his generation. Although his resume includes numbers that are comparable to or exceeding those of his peers, he is still overlooked.
His 51,682 passing yards is third among active players (behind Brees and Brady) and sixth in NFL history. His 339 passing touchdowns is fourth among active players (behind Brees, Brady, and Philip Rivers) and eighth in NFL history. He is the Giants’ franchise leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completions (4,424: third among active players behind Brees and Brady; sixth in NFL history).
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Manning is one of five players with multiple Super Bowl MVPs with two. Bart Starr and Terry Bradshaw also have two while Joe Montana has three and Brady has four. He was, until last year’s debacle of a season, the NFL’s ironman quarterback. Manning started 222 consecutive regular season and postseason games. Only Brett Favre (321 regular season and postseason games) and brother Peyton (227 regular season and postseason games) have longer consecutive start streaks.
To be fair, Manning hasn’t always been All-World on the field with his play. He led the NFL in interceptions three times. The Giants finished .500 or worse in seven of Manning’s seasons. His career quarterback rating is 83.5. But the numbers alone don’t tell the whole story.
Manning has never missed an NFL start because of injury. To his dismay, those around him have not been as fortunate. A turnstile of offensive players has been inserted throughout his career because of injury or unremarkable play. There have been moments when Manning was handing off or throwing the ball to players who weren’t even on an NFL roster the previous week. Most would say an elite quarterback will elevate the talent of those around him. It is difficult to elevate players who wouldn’t make the practice squad of most teams let alone start.
Last season was a disgrace with 22 Giants players on injured reserve including 10 offensive players. Manning had to go out there with a patchwork offensive line and receiving corps. He didn’t complain or throw anyone under the bus. He just went out and did his job. He refused to keep his consecutive start streak going when management gave him the option to do so although they wanted to get a look at Geno Smith and Davis Webb. Manning tearfully stood at his locker and said he didn’t think it was fair to the other quarterbacks and he didn’t want to tarnish the streak by starting just to keep it going.
Manning handled the situation as he usually has: with class, dignity, and professionalism. He stood there and answered every single question posed to him.
Eli Manning is not his brother. It’s too late to think he ever will be but what he does have is heart, grit, and an undeniable love of the game. His stats are comparable with the all-time greats though it hasn’t always looked pretty. For the past 14 seasons, he’s shown respect for the New York Giants and the NFL. It’s time for some respect to be thrown back to him.