Eli Deserves More Respect

By: Kevin Garbes

Eli Manning finally proved that he is more than just Peyton's little brother. He led his team to the biggest upset in Super Bowl history. Sure, the spread was bigger when the Patriots upset the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, but the spread is just a number. This year's Pats were supposed to be the first team since the '72 Dolphins to go undefeated. The Giants weren't supposed to make the playoffs.

Yet even after winning Super Bowl MVP honors, Eli is still being overlooked. Everyone is still talking about Tom Brady and the Patriots. Who says no one remembers the loser? This may be the year that no one remembers the winner.

If a quarterback is measured by how he performs in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl, then Eli was definitely the best quarterback this season. Let's not forget that he also led his team past Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Green Bay without throwing a sing interception to get to the Super Bowl. That's a feat in itself. Then after throwing his first pick in the playoffs against the Patriots, he showed what he is made of. Many quarterbacks in his position may have just folded, but Eli led his team on a game winning drive in the biggest upset in Super Bowl history.

His game winning drive was legendary. Calling it anything less would be insulting. Brady had just led his team 80 yards down the field in 12 plays to take the lead. Everyone in the world thought the game was over (whether they will admit it or not), except for the Giants. Who would have bet that the heavily criticized Manning would be able to out-duel the Super Bowl poster child?

The Giants start their drive from their own 17. They started moving down the field slowly but surely - nothing too exciting if it wasn't the Super Bowl. Then it happened, the greatest play I have ever seen. Third and five from the Giants' 44 yard line. Eli drops back, he's under pressure, he's completely surrounded by Patriots, Adalius Thomas grabs his jersey and... he somehow escapes, throws it down field to David Tyree who comes up with The Catch Part II. Four plays later, Eli hits Plaxico Burress in the endzone with 35 seconds remaining.

Eli did it, he out-dueled Brady. He led his team down the field for a touchdown in 12 plays just like Brady, but he went three yards further, with less time on the clock, and most importantly for the win. Eli may never live up to the unrealistic expectations that come with being a Manning, but he did something that can never be taken away from him - win a Super Bowl. And that's not an easy thing to do. Just ask Jim Kelly, or Dan Marino, or Archie Manning.

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