Eli Manning: The Anti Alex Rodriguez

Michael SamuelSenior Analyst IAugust 20, 2008

On sports talk radio in New York, a lot of points are raised, whether accurate or true, thought about or just a rant.  Sunday Night is not really the prime time to listen to sports talk radio, but with not much else on TV I heard a point raised on WFAN by Mike McCann when asked about Eli Manning from host Adam "The Bull" and he replied: "Eli Manning is the Anti- Alex Rodriguez. 

This point has some credibility in all but one aspect: they are both almost always solely blamed for the failures and inconsistencies of their teams.  Both of these players were also selected number 1 overall in their respective drafts.

Before Eli's magical playoff run, he was the whipping boy for the rough New York media.  People criticized the inconsistencies of Eli Manning and even when he played well, the media still wouldn't give him a pass. 

Alex Rodriguez is considered to be the most talented player in all of baseball.  There is no doubt that when focused, he has more God given talent than anyone else.  His problem though, is because of this title given to him he tries to impress everyone.

New York is a bottom line city, if you win everyone will forget about what you have done prior to that.  Eli Manning has won a Super Bowl despite his mediocre regular season stats, Alex Rodriguez won his only playoff series as a Yankee in the 2004 ALDS.  While any playoff game is a big stage, the games Eli Manning won in the 2007 post season were bigger than any.  In the highest rated Super Bowl ever ,Manning threw for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and was a part of the greatest upset in sports history.

Alex Rodriguez was on the opposite end of this spectrum when the Yankees blew a 3-0 ALCS seres to the rival Red Sox in 2004.  He was unable to help the Yankees win with his inability to drive runs in when it mattered.  Rodriguez had his first post season RBI in Game 4 of the 2007 ALDS, what would be the Yankees last game of the season.

Adam Schein of SNY says "the worst day of the Yankees was when Aaron Boone played pick up basketball".  He is referring to the winter of 2004 when Boone tore his ACL playing in a game of pick up basketball, which was against the verbatim of his contract.  Yankees fans will always remember Boone for hitting the clutch home run to defeat the Boston Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS. 

If somehow there was a way to combine Manning's post season excellence and Rodriguez' regular season dominance that would be the ultimate combination.