Eli Manning: Why Statistics Prove He's the NFL's Most Underrated Player

Jeff Shull@Jeff_ShullAnalyst IOctober 4, 2011

Eli Manning: Why Statistics Prove He's the NFL's Most Underrated Player

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    Here we go again. Yes, this is another article from me explaining why Eli Manning of the New York Giants is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the NFL

    The funny part is, he's one of the most over-scrutinized, doubted players in the NFL, yet people actually have the nerve to call him over-rated?

    By definition, that makes no sense whatsoever. Someone who is overrated is constantly praised despite not playing up to expectations. 

    You basically should judge a player in whether or not they are over or underrated based on the opinion from unbiased NFL fans. The consensus from that group seems to think Eli is not even a top 10 quarterback. 

    I'm here to prove them wrong.

107 Consecutive Starts

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    OK, so he has a LONG way to go before catching the Iron Man Brett Favre, but Eli has not missed a start in his NFL career. 

    One of the least talked about attributes of a player is his ability to stay on the field. One of the most talked about attributes of a player is his INability to stay on the field, a la Bob Sanders. 

    I don't know why the spectrum on this subject is so far apart, but Eli should be praised for the fact that he is almost always healthy, and plays through injuries when he's not.

    You can't help your team in street clothes. 

17 Come from Behind Wins

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    OK, so he's no John Elway, but Eli has amassed 17 comeback victories in his first seven-plus seasons in the NFL. 

    He's been known to elevate his game in the biggest moments, and that number includes a comeback victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. 

    Twice he brought his team back from four points down to score the go-ahead touchdown, with the game winner coming in the final minute. 

    That's as clutch as it gets. 

ESPN's Total QBR Rankings

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    To those who say Eli is not a top 10 quarterback, this slide is for you. 

    This year ESPN released its new stat for ranking quarterbacks. It takes much more in to account than the classic quarterback ratings, like how a quarterback helps his team win and also added some aspects that are outside a quarterback's control. 

    They ranked Eli's last three seasons as the seventh, eighth, and 11th best in the NFL, and so far in 2011 he has the eighth best. 

    Clearly he's been a top 10 QB the past few years. His 2008 season dropped a bit because the team was so dominant on defense, and on the ground that year that Eli wasn't asked to do very much. 

Previous Season Statistics

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    Before the 2007 playoff run, everyone knew what Eli Manning was. He was an inconsistent, turnover-prone quarterback who nobody thought could lead a team to the Super Bowl. 

    Something changed in him that year and he's had an incredible stretch of three seasons and a great start to 2011. 

    In the 52 games since that playoff run, his stats look like this:

    62.1% Completions, 12,327 yards, 87 TDs, 51 INTs, 89.5 QB rating

    That look bad to you? Didn't think so. If his receivers weren't boneheads last year, he'd have only 41-43 interceptions and around a 91.8 rating. 

Most Impressive Stat: Start to 2011 Season

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    Coming in to the 2011 NFL season, Eli lost his two favorite third down targets and two starting offensive lineman. 

    Since then he's not had his best receiving tight end so far this season, lost his third string wide receiver for the season, been without his second best receiver for basically the past two games, and had to deal with a bad running game. 

    With all of that, he's still off to the best start ever in his NFL career. Eli is averaging 267 yards per game, has eight touchdowns to two interceptions, and is completing 64 percent of his passes. 

    That equates to a 105.6 QB rating. 

    He's making guys like Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard household names in New York. As long as Eli is playing like this, he'll continue to shut up the haters and put the Giants in the best position to win.