New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers: Is It Time to Give Eli Manning Respect?

Danny McMasterContributor IIIJanuary 16, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 15:   Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants reacts after defeating the Green Bay Packers to win their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Eli Manning is a great quarterback for the New York Giants.

Most people, if you asked them, would say that the Super Bowl MVP Manning is very good. But if you asked them if you would put him in a Brady, Brees or Rodgers category, there would be a big no.

There was big controversy at the beginning of this season when Manning said in an interview with Micheal Kay that he pictured himself in the same class as Tom Brady. The media went after him, saying he needs a reality check. But now, after Manning has taken a team with the worst rushing game in all of football to the NFC Championship, is it so easy to say he's wrong?

I'm not trying to say Manning is in the same class as Brees, Brady or Rodgers, but it's about time he gets the respect he deserves. 

In the Giants' 37-20 win, Aaron Rodgers got a call late in the fourth quarter that no other person than the league MVP would get. Rodgers scrambled outside the pocket, threw the ball away toward Donald Driver, and then was tackled by Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul. The hit was a legal waist-high blow, and when the officials saw Rodgers on the ground in pain a few seconds later, a flag was thrown.

Personally, I don't really care too much about this call or most of the roughing the passer calls. I get it; as much as I don't like these new rules, it needs to be a safer game. The point where I started to get mad was when the Packers started to hit Manning. Late. Manning found himself in a routine where he would throw the pass, then brace himself for a hit that would come two seconds later.

These late hits being delivered by Clay Matthews and the Packers D-Linemen were hits that would have never passed had they been on Rodgers.

Little things like announcers occasionally referring to Manning as a "kid," or Manning not getting roughing calls are perfect examples of the NFL-wide view of the younger Manning. NFL fans view him as a guy who's in the top five QBs, but not on a Brady/Brees level.

It's time for Manning to get the respect he deserves. Maybe it was time midseason for him to get the top five on their level quarterback status. It will probably take the New York Giants to win the Super Bowl for him to earn that recognition.

Either way, after Manning went toe-to-toe with the best QB in football and won, it's about time that he gets respect.