Phil Simms: Eli Manning Isn't Elite Because He Doesn't Make Unbelievable Plays

sad eli manning


Eli Manning’s current slump has been well documented. The Giants quarterback is 39-of-70 (55.7 per cent) for 340 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions during the team’s current two-game losing streak.Even with Manning’s recent struggles, most people thought the debate about his “elite” status ended when he picked up his second Super Bowl victory in February.

But just two, perhaps three, bad games in a row are enough to throw Manning’s status back into a state of limbo. At least for former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, who doesn’t think Eli has done enough to claim elite quarterback status.

Here’s what Simms told The New York Daily News about why Manning doesn’t fit the bill of an elite quarterback:

“No, he is not one of the elites,” Simms said. “Because when I hear the word elite, I’m thinking about guys that can make unbelievable plays on the field by themselves. There are very few quarterbacks in that category.

“So yes, Eli has been a tremendous team player. He has been MVP of the Super Bowl twice. I know that. But the way I look at it, the answer is no.”

Simm’s assessment is trivial, and here’s why.

In the short term, Simms may be right. Manning has struggled to make plays over the last three games and has looked about as erratic as we’ve seen since 2010 when he threw 32 touchdowns to 25 interceptions.

But to pass judgement on those three games alone would be shortsighted.

During the summer, Simms said that Manning had already earned a spot in the Hall of Fame. But his definition of elite still relies simply on making unbelievable plays? 

For a quarterback, that may be making a great throw, which Manning did against the New England on the sideline pass to Mario Manningham in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Or making an impossible play happen, which Manning did when escaping a sure sack in Super Bowl XLII to complete David Tyree’s helmet catch, deemed one of the most unbelievable plays in Super Bowl history.

If Simms’ logic for elite status was the correct barometer, Robert Griffin would be “elite” after Week 6.

Until then, I’ll be looking at Super Bowl victories, wins and losses and clutch performances. Include Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning in that company right now.

This year alone (in a down year?), Manning already has three fourth quarter comebacks, and his eight game-winning drives last year were the most ever by any quarterback.

But we should already know by now, the definition of an “elite quarterback” is different for everyone.

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