Eli Manning has been the NFL MVP through the first nine weeks of the season.
That's right, I said Eli Manning.
You know, the guy that millions of football fans around the nation ridiculed after he called himself an elite quarterback.
Yeah that's the one.
Although the numbers may favor Rodgers, Brady, or Johnson, the impact that Manning has made cannot be seen in the stat books.
If you don't think that Eli has a chance to win the award, here are some points to consider before writing the Giants quarterback off.
This offseason the Giants cut center Shaun O'Hara and guard Rich Seubert. These two were vital two the success of the offensive line last year and in one offseason Eli Manning has had to deal with a brand new O-Line.
The cohesion that must exist between the offensive line and the quarterback is obviously vital for the success of the team and Manning was left without two-fifths of that unit.
Unfortunately this new O-Line has had their troubles run-blocking throughout the majority of the season. The G-Men's rushing attack is currently ranked 29th in the NFL and they may have something to do with injuries (which I will get to later), but it mostly has to do with the inconsistencies at the offensive live.
With this brand new look at the line, Eli Manning has still had a lot of success through the air and has lowered the amount of interceptions—he is on pace to threw less than half the amount of interceptions he threw last year. All while doing this with basically no running game.
The New York Giants medical staff has certainly gotten their money's worth this year.
The Giants have suffered so many injuries this year that it's almost comical—almost.
Although there are numerous injuries that have devastated the defense, there have been numerous big injuries on offense as well. These injuries could have drastically damaged the Giants this season, but Eli Manning has prevented that from happening.
The injuries on the offensive side of the ball this year include:
RB Brandon Jacobs- Knee (Missed Weeks 5 & 6)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw- Broken bone in his foot (Missed Week 9 and questionable for the Week 10 match up against the San Francisco 49ers)
WR Hakeem Nicks- Hamstring (Missed Week 9 and questionable for Week 10)
C David Baas- Neck (Missed Week 5) & Hamstring (Missed Week 9)
WR Ramses Barden- Anke (Missed First 9 Weeks)
Quiet an impressive list huh?
Although the Giants fighting for victories and overcoming injuries has been a story all year, it was especially true against the Patriots in Week 9. The Patriots already went into the game nine point favorites and with the injuries to Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks, it could have been much worse.
Despite that Eli Manning came through. Although he did struggle at times he delivered with the weapons that he had. And that sums up what Eli Manning has done so far this season which is make the best with what he has had.
There are not many, if any, quarterbacks that have proven to be as clutch in the fourth quarter as Eli Manning.
In these season alone Manning has orchestrated five fourth-quarter comebacks this year. The latest one coming against the New England Patriots in an exciting Week 9 victory. That means that five of the Giants' six victories were a result of his performance in the fourth quarter which is eye-opening to say the least.
Manning's stats in the fourth quarter are so phenomenal that it's ridiculous. During crunch time Manning has a quarterback rating of 121.7. He has completed 68.7 percent of his passes and has thrown for eight touchdowns.
If that isn't MVP caliber clutchness then I don't know what is.
When Eli Manning claimed that he was an elite quarterback on ESPN radio there was a media frenzy of epic proportions. From the reaction of the public one would believe that he said something that was, well, WRONG. It has never been wrong to show confidence in one's ability. Manning is heavily scrutinized for not demonstrating the most poised or confident demeanor at times on the field. Then he makes this statement and is criticized as well.
Eli Manning is one of the most scrutinized athletes in the NFL. The difference between him and the others is that he hasn't given people a reason to dislike him so much.
Maybe it was the target he put after himself when he refused to play for the San Diego Chargers? Maybe it's because he plays in New York. Maybe it's because his father is Archie Manning and his brother is Peyton Manning?
Whatever the reason he has been subjected to a lot of criticism despite having won a Superbowl ring.
Even after that victory against the Patriots there were still people doubting his abilities.
It could be safe to say that Manning faces the most pressure out of the majority, if not all the quarterbacks in the NFL.
Not only has he responded to the pressure with an MVP caliber season he will make his critics eat their words when he takes his team to the playoffs.