New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft, is taking the biblical prophecy that the first will last a little too literally, as he has been surpassed by two quarterbacks taken behind him in the first round of the draft.
Both San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have proven themselves to be much more proficient quarterbacks than Manning.
Although they were drafted after Manning, they have created a gap so sizable between themselves and Manning that he will likely never catch up.
In Manning's 110 games as the Giants' primary quarterback, games in which he has either attempted the most passes or thrown for the most yards for the Giants, he has completed 58.1 percent of his passes and gained 6.8 yards per pass attempt, 6.2 adjusted yards per pass attempt, 6.1 net yards per pass attempt and 5.5 adjusted net yards per pass attempt.
Additionally, Manning has thrown 164 touchdowns (4.7 touchdown percentage) and 120 interceptions (3.4 interception percentage)—not the kind of touchdown-to-interception ratio that lends itself to great success.
By themselves, Manning's statistics are extremely unimpressive and pale in comparison to the point of transparency when compared to how Rivers and Roethlisberger have performed when they have been the primary quarterbacks for their respective teams.
After every game week, the Chargers should make it a point to call up Eli and Archie Manning and thank them for forcing the Chargers to execute a draft-day trade that landed the franchise a truly elite quarterback in Rivers.
With Rivers, the Chargers offense is in much better hands than it would be with Manning.
Over the course of his career, which includes 87 games as primary quarterback, Rivers has been statistically significantly better than Manning in completion percentage (63.3 percent to 58.1 percent), yards per pass attempt (8.0 to 6.8), adjusted yards per pass attempt (8.0 to 6.2), net yards per pass attempt (7.2 to 6.1), adjusted net yards per pass attempt (7.2 to 5.5), touchdown percentage (5.3 percent to 4.7 percent) and interception percentage (2.5 percent to 3.4 percent).
There is no facet of being a quarterback in which Rivers has not been superior to Manning and across the board, every time Rivers drops back to pass, he will gain at least one more yard than Manning will.
Roethlisberger, who was the third quarterback chosen in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft, has not distanced himself from Manning as much as Rivers has, but he is still light years ahead of Manning in most statistical categories.
After 111 games as the Steelers' primary quarterback, Roethlisberger has proven himself statistically significantly superior to Manning in completion percentage (63.0 percent to 58.1 percent), yards per pass attempt (8.0 to 6.8), adjusted yards per pass attempt (7.6 to 6.2), net yards per pass attempt (6.7 to 6.1) and adjusted net yards per pass attempt (6.4 to 5.5).
Roethlisberger also possesses a better touchdown percentage (5.2 percent to 4.7 percent) and interception percentage (3.2 percent to 3.4 percent), but not to the level of being statistically significant.
Even Manning's best season, which occurred in 2009 and is a season he has never been able to duplicate, represents a statistical feat that both Rivers and Roethlisberger have reached multiple times.
During 2009, in his 15 games as primary quarterback, Manning completed 62.3 percent of his passes and gained 7.9 yards per pass attempt, 7.7 adjusted yards per pass attempt, 7.1 net yards per pass attempt and 6.9 adjusted net yards per pass attempt.
Rivers can boast three seasons that are even better than Manning's 2009 campaign, while Roethlisberger has also posted three seasons that compare favorably to Manning's career season.
No matter how you slice it, the Giants ended up with the least desirable quarterback among these three.