According to NFL Network’s poll, “The Top 100 Players of 2013”, Eli Manning ranked 43rd overall. This poll is reportedly conducted by his peers, and they placed him as the 9th best quarterback. I bet that if Tom Brady was asked to vote, he would place Eli a lot higher than his peers did.
The NFL regular-season starts in September and ends in December, so I am confused as to why it is called the best players of 2013. Shouldn’t it be the best players of 2012?
My biggest gripe with NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players” is that they do not disclose everyone who was involved in the voting process. Undoubtedly, NFL Network did conduct a poll, however is this really a popularity contest, or an actual analysis of who the best players were? After all, in 2012 Peyton Manning was voted 50th overall, even though he was not on the field for a single snap. This also makes me question, are they voting for who played best in the particular year, or are they voting for things players have done in the past, I.E. Peyton Manning.
To be fair, Eli did have an ‘off-year’ in 2013, but to be named the 9th best quarterback is ludicrous. There is not one quarterback I would rather have with the ball in his hands late in the 4th quarter than Eli Manning. He has proven time and time again that he is a champion, and he lifts the play of everyone around him. However, after last years poll, I have to say that I am not surprised. In 2012, the year where Eli Manning took home his second Super Bowl MVP award, which only 4 other players in the history of the NFL can say (Bart Starr, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, and Tom Brady). Oh, and Eli also happened to set a plethora of NFL records along the way to his to capturing his second Lombardi Trophy.
- Most 4th quarter touchdown passes in a season (15 in 2011)
- Tied NFL Record longest pass completion and touchdown (99 yards in 2011)
- Tied NFL Record most game-winning drives in a season (8 in 2011)
- Most road wins in a single regular season and postseason by a starting quarterback (10)
- Most passing yards in a single postseason (1,219 yards in 2011)
The only quarterbacks who I would even place in the same category as Eli, would be his brother Peyton, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco. Drew Brees does have a Super Bowl MVP, but look at how much the loss of his coach, Sean Payton affected his performance in 2012. On the other hand, Andrew Luck, had a superb season, and won 11 games. His coach, Chuck Pagano missed most of the season (12 games) as well, but under much different circumstances.
It would be nice to see the NFL and the players in the NFL show Eli the respect that he deserves. After proclaiming himself in the ‘elite’ class before the 2011 season, Eli was berated by the media and his peers. He then went on to win the Super Bowl in that same season, and I view it as sweet poetic justice. The only other quarterback who made a bold prediction like Eli, was none other than Broadway Joe and he is still regarded as a hero in New York. When it is all said and done, Eli will have cemented his legendary status in New York as well.
Justin Lerner: PureSportsNY