Is Eli Manning a Glorified Trent Dilfer?

Chad HensleyCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2008

There's a lot of talk about the New York Giant's Eli Manning winning the NFL MVP this year.   This is insane, mostly because he isn't even the MVP on his own team!

Here is your typical conversation with the "Eli homer":

Eli Homer: "Stats don't mean anything.  He has a Super Bowl ring."

Level Headed Fan: "Well, so does Trent Dilfer.  Do you seriously think Eli is better (or will ever be better) than Dan Marino and Jim Kelly? "

Eli Homer: "Yeah, well, he is clutch.  Did you see that 2-minute drill he ran in the Super Bowl?"

Level Headed Fan: "Yep, sure did.  He fumbled and threw two balls that should have been picked off.  Then he made a great play to escape from two tacklers, threw up a prayer, and David Tyree made one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history.  The pass to Plaxico Burress was solid.  Not sure that was Elway-esque."

Eli Homer: "Well, he was the Super Bowl MVP!"

Level Headed Fan: "Yeah, so was Larry Brown in Super Bowl XXX.  You don't see anyone proclaiming him as ... wait you don't even know who he is do you?"

Eli's stats have been average over his career.  Here is a comparison of Eli's 2007 Super Bowl Campaign and Dilfer's 2000 Super Bowl year with the Baltimore Ravens.

Eli's 2007 stats:

56.1%, 33 attempts/game, 208 yards/game, 6.6 yards/attempt, 23 TD's, 20 Int's

Dilfer 2000 stats (He started final 8 games):

59.3%, 28 attempts/game, 187.5 yards/game, 6.6 yards/attempt, 12 TD's, 11 Int's

Basically, Dilfer had the same stats, just a smaller sample.  Both of their teams relied on defense and a strong running game.

Eli Homer:  "Well, his stats are improved this year."

Level Headed Fan: "I will admit that Eli's stats are definitely improved this year comparative to his career average.  But let's dive into these stats."

Eli Manning - 61%, 211 yards/game, 20 TD's, nine Int's

"Those are definitely efficient numbers through 13 games.

But from the Cleveland game through Baltimore game, a span of seven games, he didn't reach the 200-yard mark.  The team went 6-1, but he was hardly the 'most valuable.'"

"In the last game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he had a total of 67 yards passing until that final drive when the Eagles played prevent. 

67 passing yards through 58 minutes of play!"

"What other MVP candidate would ever have 67 yards total passing, in a game they were behind, through 58 minutes?

Oh, and it was at home!"

Eli Homer:  "It was windy and Hixon dropped that pass!"

Level Headed Fan:  "But you wouldn't give Tony Romo that benefit of the doubt right?  I mean the guy plays with T.O., who leads the Universe in dropped passes."

Eli Homer: "Eh, probably not."

Level Headed Fan: "I think everyone will admit that the Giants have the best running game in the NFL right now. They also have a top three defense.

How can Eli's stats be that pedestrian with that kind of team around you? Can you imagine if the Giants had Drew Brees?"

Eli Homer: "Well, his stats are just as good as Troy Aikman's on all of his Super Bowl teams!"

Level Headed Fan: "Yeah, Troy never won the NFL MVP."

Game. Set. Match.

He may not be asked to do much for them because of his surrounding cast, but doesn't that make him "less valuable?"

The running game was slowed in that last Eagle's game and Eli couldn't put his team on his shoulders and carry them.  That's what the Giant's defense does game-in and game-out.  That's what their running game does. That's what MVP's do.

I believe that is Eli is a better-than-average quarterback.  He has made a lot less mistakes this year, but again, he isn't asked to make plays.

He is not an MVP—even on his own team.


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