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Eli Manning: The Second Greatest NFL Player in New York Football History

April 24, 2004 is a date that Giants fans will remember for the rest of their lives. Eli Manning was selected by the San Diego Chargers with the first pick in the draft, while the Giants selected Philip Rivers with the fourth pick. Manning and Rivers did not last on those teams very long. Eli refused to play for the Chargers and the team had no choice but to trade him. The Giants and Chargers agreed to a trade that sent Manning to the Giants, while Rivers and three-draft picks (2004 3rd and 5th, 2005 1st) were sent to the Chargers. It is safe to say that the trade has panned out for the Giants.

Lawrence Taylor is the greatest player in New York Football history, by far. Who is number two? There have been plenty of great players that have worn the blue and white, or the green and white, but I am hear to say that Eli is right behind LT. Many will argue that Joe Namath was better than Eli. Joe Namath was OVERRATED. Let’s compare the two QBs throughout their New York careers.

Eli Manning:

  • 210 Games Started (2nd longest consecutive streak of All-Time)
  • 4,319 Passes Completed (6th All-Time)
  • 50,625 Passing Yards (7th All-Time)
  • 334 Passing TDs (7th All-Time)
  • 30 Comebacks (7th All-Time)
  • 40 Game-Winning Drives (8th All-Time)
  • 12 Playoff Games Started (14th All-Time)
  • 83.8 Passer Rating
  • 59.8% Passes Completed
  • 222 Interceptions
  • 4 x Pro-Bowler
  • 2 x SB Champ
  • 2 x SB MVP
  • Future HOF

Joe Namath

  • 129 Games Started
  • 1,836 Passes Completed
  • 27,057 Passing Yards
  • 170 Passing TDs
  • 16 Comebacks
  • 16 Game-Winning Drives
  • 3 Playoff Games Started
  • 65.8 Passer Rating
  • 50.2% Passes Completed
  • 215 Interceptions
  • 5 x Pro-Bowler
  • 1 x SB Champ
  • 1 x SB MVP
  • 1 x All-Pro
  • HOF

Yes, Eli has played many more games than Namath and some of his numbers may be higher for that reason. But, what about some of the other numbers? Namath’s completion percentage, passer rating and interceptions are abysmal. Namath has thrown 42 more interceptions than touchdowns in his time in New York. HORRIBLE. Not to mention how clutch Eli has been throughout his career. He has 40 game-winning drives compared to Namath’s 16 and 12 playoff games compared to Namath’s 3.

Joe Namath’s one SB victory came at a time in which he only had to win 2 games to accomplish the feat. The Raiders were a very good team in 1968 when Namath and the Jets defeated them, but they did not have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. When Eli and the Giants defeated the Patriots in 2007 they were undefeated before that game. 18-0. They might have been the best team in NFL history. Randy Moss and Tom Brady had an insane connection. The Patriots, since 2000, may be the greatest dynasty in all of sports. They have reached the Super Bowl seven times since then, while winning it five times! Who handed them those two losses? ELI MANNING. You can say all you want about the defense and the lucky catches, but someone had to make those throws right?

Whether or not you want to put Eli over Namath, he is still a top-5 player in New York football history. He has brought the Giants two Super Bowls and many great memories in his 14 seasons with the team. The way they have treated him this week is downright disgusting. Eli deserves to be treated with more respect because of all the success he has been able to bring this franchise.

Thanksgiving Day against the Redskins may have been the last time we ever will see Eli under center for the New York Giants. He may be released or he may be traded come next year. No matter what happens Eli Manning is a legend in the eyes of Giants’ fans. He has brought all of us so many fond memories that we will never forget. As a Giants fan I cannot thank Eli enough for the joy he has brought me over these past 14 years. Thank you, Eli.

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Nicholas LoPrinzi View All

I'm a washed up D3 college baseball player who is pursuing their MBA in Accounting. I love baseball, basketball, and football; while rooting for the New York Mets, New York Knicks, and New York Giants. Most of the time it is full of misery. I have recently found a passion for writing about sports. I have posted a few articles for Last Word on Sports and I have now created my own website (the-sportstalk.com). You can check out my articles there and also follow the twitter account @_thesportstalk.

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