New York Giants

Damned If He Does- Damned If He Doesn’t: The Eli Manning Story

The Manning name carries a certain stigma. The name Eli carries a completely different one. Will Burge explains why you shouldn’t be so quick to put down Eli ManningEeyore was a character on the beloved children’s show Winnie the Pooh. He walked around at a lethargic pace with his head hung low. He said things like “Oh bother” and “It doesn’t even really matter” in a glum tone.

This is what the world sees from Eli Manning.

Over the past three weeks Eli has been getting some props from national media. The long overdue congratulations are finally being bestowed upon one of the league’s most scrutinized players.

In recent years, when he wasn’t being blasted for interceptions by the New York media, he was being slammed by former teammates turned sports anchors for not being a leader. As if playing under the microscope in New York wasn’t enough, Eli also has that pesky last name to live up to.

Eli Manning is one of the most disliked players in the NFL and it can all be traced back to a single day: draft day 2004.

Manning was selected with the first pick in the draft by the San Diego Chargers. Phillip Rivers is chosen number four by the New York Giants.

We all remember the look on Eli’s face as he threw on that fake smile for photos with the Chargers jersey held in front of him; He looked like a little kid that got the wrong Power Ranger for Christmas. The trade to New York soon followed and Eli never stood a chance.

It wasn’t enough that he turned his nose up at everyone in the country and threw a tantrum because San Diego drafted him; now, he would need to please the ever-hungry appetites of the New York fans. This is no small task. The next Manning would be on the biggest stage in the NFL.

What could go wrong?

Unfortunately for Eli, plenty would go awry in the next three years.

Over Eli’s first three years in the NFL he completed just 52.6 percent of his passes and had a QB rating of 69.4. His second and third year also included second half collapses by the Giants; Manning bore much of the blame. He was deemed extremely unimpressive for an age where quarterbacks are given only two or three years to develop before a replacement is brought in.

There is a flip side to that coin, though. He had only been a full time starter in the league for two years. Both of those years were coached by Tom Coughlin, who was not a player favorite.

Perhaps we placed too many expectations upon young Manning. Though he has failed to impress the iron fisted media in the Big Apple, he hasn’t been that bad.

In three years starting in the NFL, Eli has thrown 71 touchdown passes. In only his third full year as the starter he has beaten what looked like another late-season Giants collapse and willed his team to the playoffs.

And now, Manning has his team one win away from only their second Super Bowl appearance in 17 years. Yet he is still chopped down by fans and media alike.

If a player makes mistakes early in his career to tarnish his public image, can he not be forgiven?

What if he had extremely successful family members who came before him in the same occupation? Can he not be judged based solely upon his own accomplishments?

For all that seems wrong with Eli there is ten times more that is right. He is always well-spoken and does not shy away from talking to media. Even in the pressure cooker that is New York, he stays out of trouble off of the field. The kid is twenty-seven years old and we judge him like he is a seasoned vet who has failed us all.

In our eyes, he should have three Super Bowl rings and set passing records because his birth certificate has the same surname as Peyton and Archie.

The fact of the matter is that Eli is not Peyton. He is not his father.

He is a solid starting quarterback in the NFL who has an upside. This is an extremely valuable commodity in a league where sixty-four different players have started at quarterback this season.

And Eli has accomplished everything he has done thus far with an below-average offensive line and no downfield threat at receiver. Plaxico Burress is his only real weapon deep but he hasn’t practiced with his quarterback most of this year due to injury.

The cards are stacked against Eli.

If the Giants lose this week against the Packers, it will be because of him. If they win, it will be because of the defense, or the special teams, or the run game.

If he succeeds in his career, then he was supposed to because he’s a Manning. If he is just solid or mediocre then he has failed for the same reason.

Though the compliments are slowly trickling in, it’s only a matter of time before the rug of confidence is pulled right out from underneath him.

Thus is the life of a little brother.

If you must judge Eli by what is on the back of this jersey, do so by the number ten instead of the last name. Only then can the criticism truly be on Eli and not on an inherited burden passed down by family members before him.

3 replies on “Damned If He Does- Damned If He Doesn’t: The Eli Manning Story”

grammar you’ve got some grammatical errors in the article. such as “Chargers jersey held in front of him: He looked like a little kid that got the wrong Power Ranger for Christmas.” There should be a ; not a : there. Also, The New York Giants doesn’t need The capitalized.

Also, I’m not sure how I feel about the rhetorical questions that you ask in the middle of the article.

I’m going to hold off on my vote for the article to see if the changes are made. I am in favor of the subject, as a huge Giants fan and a believer in Eli.

Passed our window Although we passed our window on this story, it still carries some credibility.  It might not be your most interesting piece, but it is the best quality you’ve shown so far.

Thank You I’m really still quite new at writing publicly and any comments or criticism help a ton. I’m trying to cover a lot of different subjects in many different ways to develop my writing further. Thanks again.

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