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Super Bowl 2012: 5 Reasons Eli Manning Should Now Be Considered an Elite QB

Michael DesjardinsCorrespondent IIFebruary 6, 2012

Super Bowl 2012: 5 Reasons Eli Manning Should Now Be Considered an Elite QB

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    Super Bowl XLVI is over. Eli Manning and the New York Giants, for the second time in four years, won it all by defeating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

    Few quarterbacks in the history of the league have ever made it to the Super Bowl, let alone win it.

    Eli Manning, though, has reached a class even fewer have been able to attain by winning it not once, but twice. Not even his big brother Peyton, who many believe is one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of this sport, can even say that.

    So can it be said that Eli Manning, with two Super Bowl victories on his resume, be considered as an elite quarterback?

    Absolutely. Here are five reason as to why.

He's Won the Super Bowl on Multiple Occasions

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    It's one thing to win a Super Bowl. It's another thing to win it multiple times (not to mention winning the game's MVP award twice).

    Since the inception of the Super Bowl, there have only been 11 quarterbacks to have started and won the Super Bowl on multiple occasions:

    • Terry Bradshaw - 4
    • Joe Montana - 4
    • Troy Aikman - 3
    • Tom Brady - 3
    • John Elway - 2
    • Bob Griese - 2
    • Bart Starr - 2
    • Ben Roethlisberger - 2
    • Roger Staubach - 2
    • Jim Plunkett - 2
    • Eli Manning - 2

    Pretty impressive list, wouldn't you say?

    Both Brady and Roethlisberger are considered by many to be "elite" quarterbacks, and the only inactive quarterback on this list that is not in the Hall of Fame is Jim Plunkett (likely because he has had an up-and-down career marred by injuries, inconsistency, and having to play as a backup).

    And right now, he's in the prime of his career (he just turned 31 a month ago) and still has plenty of years left in his career. With the talent he and the rest of the Giants have, he's certainly capable of reaching (and winning) future Super Bowls.

Postseason Perforamnce

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    Though he doesn't have the greatest regular season record in NFL history (currently at 69-50), Eli Manning's knack for performing in the postseason has already made him an elite quarterback.

    Heck, just look at yesterday's Super Bowl, where he threw 30-of-40.

    Manning is not only 2-0 in both the Super Bowl and in the NFC Championship game, but he also holds a 6-3 record in the postseason, many of them against teams known for their intimidating defensive lines (Packers twice, 49ers).

    In fact, in an interesting coincidence, both of his Super Bowl runs have come from winning four playoff games in a row. Five of those wins were on the road, including the three games that led to his first improbable Super Bowl run in the 2007-08 season.

    Speaking of on the road...

Winning on the Road

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    Again, as I've said, while he doesn't have the greatest regular-season record, Eli has still done very well over the past several years.

    For one thing, he and his team can win on the road. Half of Eli's wins are away from Metlife Stadium (currently, he has a 35-25 record).

    In fact, a number of his career statistics are better on the road than at home. His completion percentage, passer rating, touchdown rate, and rushing yards are all better when performing in enemy territory.

    Maybe he should play more away games...

Clutch in the 4th Quarter

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    Over the course of 17 seasons, Dan Marino had 36 4th-quarter comebacks, the most of any quarterback in NFL history.

    Eli Manning, currently in his 8th season, has 19, including six this season.

    In addition, this year, he set the single-season record for most touchdowns in the 4th quarter with 16, a record once shared between Johnny Unitas and Eli's big brother, Peyton Manning.

    And then, of course, there's the two game-winning drives he's had in both Super Bowls.

    If there's someone to count on when the game is tight and you need a score to win, Eli Manning is your man.

Durability

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    Playing healthy throughout a season, much less a career, can be difficult to do.

    And after getting sacked 194 times over the course of your career like Eli Manning has, you sometimes wonder how does he keep going. Not only that, but keeps improving year after year.

    Yet, despite this, Eli Manning has been one of the most durable quarterbacks in the history of the league.

    He holds the active record for most consecutive starts with 119 (130 if you count the playoffs).

    His streak is the third-longest amongst quarterbacks all-time, behind only Brett Favre and big brother Peyton, and is only one of six quarterbacks to have 100 consecutive starts.

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