In 2011, Eli Manning was snubbed by his peers who excluded him from their
top 100 list. Hell, he may not even have been in the top 200 for all we know.
And how did Eli respond?
By publicly stating he is an elite QB who belongs in the same discussion with Brady-Rodgers-Brees, then backing it up with a fantastic season. He threw his team on his back and performed brilliantly in leading them to another miraculous win over New England to claim the Lombardi Trophy.
That's right - miraculous.
The first 9-7 team to win a world championship - defeating great teams along the way like the Packers, 49ers and Patriots.
We all know it ended with Manning taking home his second Super Bowl MVP award by again
out-dueling the great Tom Brady. But his path in duplicating the 2007 feat was far more impressive in 2011. Back in 2007, the Giants had the league's best defense orchestrated by defensive guru coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The team's formula for success began with defense, supplemented by a conservative offensive attack, focused on a ball control running game and elimination of turnovers. Manning was more of a 'manager' then the prime facilitator of the offense.
Not many people gave the 2007 wild card Giants a chance of getting past the divisional round, no less winning a world championship. One big reason was the general perception that Manning wasn't capable of leading the team to these heights. Based on his statistical record alone, that would appear to have been a reasonable assumption. He had a poor touchdown to interception ratio of 23 / 20
. His average passing yards per game was, get this - 208.5
. And he sported a less than pedestrian passer rating of 73.9
, the worst since his rookie season. Meanwhile, the Giants had one of the league's premier running attacks led by Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward. Of course once the playoffs began, Eli upped his game committing one lone turnover in 4 victories and making the big play whenever needed.
2011's circumstances presented a much greater challenge for Manning. Although the defense came around in time for the playoffs, it was not one of the league's better units during the regular season. This was largely due to a myriad of injuries. The much maligned defense was porous and often exploited. So much so that it was incapable of stopping opposing offenses or holding leads late in games. Fortunately for the team, this is where Manning is at his best. Of the team's 9 regular season victories, he led *6* 4th quarter comebacks. His 29 / 16 touchdown to interception ratio was respectable. His average passing yards per game was up 100 yards from the 2007 campaign to 308.3. His passer rating was 92.9. And once again Manning was great in the playoffs. leading the team to *2* 4th quarter comebacks.
So if this was Eli's response to not being included in 2011's best players, what's he going to do after being rated at only 31 on the 2012 player's list?