Vote 1 Manning: The Importance of Being Eli
Your average NFL fan would be led to believe that the position of quarterback is fairly important in the game of American football.
And lets face it, no matter how many yards your running backs gain, or how many monster hits your linebackers can put on, if your QB1 hasn’t got game then all you’ve got is a gang of beefy blokes car pooling with a punter.
Which leads to the question of why do so many quarterbacks…how do I say it….suck?
Granted, you can’t always be on top in a competition as tough as the NFL, but some performances in week 9 were reminiscent of Matt Saracen pre coach Taylor Pep talk.
Romo, Vick, Cassel-whilst all are easy targets for a team’s deficiencies each one of these players were capable of making grown men cry on the weekend. Those grown men in the stands without paper bags on their head anyway.
Whilst not quite keeping company with the league’s aforementioned remedial learners, Eli Manning’s outing against Pittsburgh on the weekend would have had many Giants fans searching for his adoption papers Donald Trump style. Was this really a man who’d won two Super Bowl rings?
Which begs the question, how does one put a read on Eli Manning? It’s not that he’s not a good player, he’s a superb player. You just don’t know when he actually plans on being superb.
With the older Manning you know what you’re going to get. Like sitting down to watch an old John Wayne Midday Movie or ordering a medium rare at your local steakhouse, there are no surprises- and that’s the way you darn well like it!
Eli though…nup, sorry sir. Maybe you’ll get the kilo of ribs or maybe the half chewed, three day old breakfast burrito that had fallen behind the back of the fryer.
At a time when sports science is all encompassing of pro football and research studies are being done into everything bar the viscosity of Troy Polamalu’s hairdo , the footballing boffins are no closer to understanding the Eli effect.
Now it would be easy to blame the New York influence on Eli’s hot ‘n’ cold nature, but despite his time living in the big apple he is still more Huckleberry Hound than hipster hashtag.
The simple fact appears to be that sometimes it happens for him, and, well, sometimes it doesn’t.
With the luxury of three divisional rivals in the NFC East all with their GPS’ stuck on struggle street it is likely that Eli’s wavering arm can be forgiven by the Giants admin. However, facing up against a 3-5 Bengals side this weekend Manning faces a far greater personal test.
After Peyton Manning’s Broncos dismantled Cincinnati just last week, another Dr Jekyll performance by Eli and the big blue will go a long way to once and for all settling the best bar room debate of the last decade.
Coming back from a serious injury to still hold such a presence over the NFL has triple rubber stamped the elder Manning’s Hall of Fame invite.
As for Eli though, now appears to be the time for him to stand up and be counted as a great in his own right, lest he end up being remembered as the little bro who kept getting lucky.
Unlike the other big new coming out of the states this week there will be no loser in the Manning race. However, as voters showed the other day, people tend to gravitate towards a leader from whom they know what they’re going to get.
It’s just a question of whether Eli, like his brother before him, can consistently keep giving it to them.