Passionate NFL fans aren't exactly patient or forgiving if things go wrong with their beloved teams. Eli Manning was a victim of the overreaction by Giants fans last season, after he had the worst full year of his career, throwing just 18 touchdowns to 27 interceptions, resulting in a quarterback rating of just 69.4. Maybe the disappointment was warranted for those numbers and a 7-9 season, but wanting the quarterback out of a job was ludicrous.
The Giants have made the playoffs in five of Manning's nine full seasons as the starting quarterback, including eight playoff wins and two Super Bowl wins in that span. In comparison, his older brother Peyton has won 11 playoff games and just one Super Bowl in his entire career. Eli also won both Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards.
As their stadium-sharers (the Jets... I won't call them a "team") have found out, starting quarterbacks often can determine the outcome of an entire season. Eli Manning has been a symbol of stability as a member of the Giants, and has not missed a single game since taking over halfway through the 2004 season after being famously selected No. 1 overall by the Chargers and then traded to the Giants. Along the way, his numbers don't compare to Peyton's, but they're above-average and consistent.
This season, through seven games, Manning looks like he's back on track, rebounding from last year's dismal campaign. He has completed 64.9 percent of his passes (a career-high and up from 57.5 last season), has thrown for 1,573 yards, 14 touchdowns, and has limited himself to five interceptions. This has resulted in a 96.8 quarterback rating (also a career-high).
The Giants hold a 3-4 record, and losing Rashad Jennings and Victor Cruz, the first-string running back and wide receiver, have proven to be largely detrimental, as expected. However, Manning has performed well and has done his best to keep the team in games, even with a very select group of weapons on his side of the ball.
In fact, over his last five games, he has been one of the most effective quarterbacks in the entire NFL, throwing 11 touchdowns to just one interception over those games with quarterback ratings of 123.2, 117.5, 104.9, 76.5, and 116.7 respectively. It seems as though Peyton's little brother, though overshadowed by his big bro, is having a solid under-the-radar season and is getting adjusted to the Giants' new west coast offensive scheme.
All New York needs is a consistent defense and a few offensive weapons, and in my opinion, they will be contenders once again. Losing Jennings and Cruz would be huge losses to any other team in the NFL... it's just a part of the game.
Giants fans, is it time to forgive the quarterback that gave you two Super Bowl rings since 2007, or is he still the garbage that you treated him like last season?
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