Pro Football Reference has an extremely interesting article up today about the lists of all-time hottest QBs heading into the Superbowl.
Make of it what you will, but Eli Manning’s 2007 performance at the end of the season to catapult the Giants to the Super Bowl is among the best in history according to PFF’s era-adjusted QB performance metric.
Check out where Eli ranks over the last 4 games before the Superbowl and you’ll be amazed. Eli haters — prepare to eat some serious crow:
|Dan Marino||1984||MIA||203.5||Tom Brady||2007||NWE||89.6|
|Jim Kelly||1990||BUF||191.9||Bart Starr||1967||GNB||88.5|
|Ken Stabler||1976||OAK||165.9||Joe Theismann||1983||WAS||87.8|
|Peyton Manning||2009||IND||164.6||Drew Brees||2009||NOR||87.6|
|Roger Staubach||1975||DAL||157.1||Tom Brady||2004||NWE||87.0|
|Roger Staubach||1977||DAL||152.7||Mark Rypien||1991||WAS||87.0|
|Terry Bradshaw||1978||PIT||141.0||Jim McMahon||1985||CHI||86.7|
|Bart Starr||1966||GNB||138.1||Ken Anderson||1981||CIN||86.0|
|Joe Montana||1988||SFO||137.6||Fran Tarkenton||1973||MIN||85.0|
|Joe Montana||1989||SFO||132.9||John Elway||1987||DEN||84.6|
|Troy Aikman||1993||DAL||130.7||Jim Plunkett||1983||RAI||83.7|
|Daryle Lamonica||1967||OAK||126.7||Brad Johnson||2002||TAM||80.9|
|John Elway||1989||DEN||120.5||John Elway||1998||DEN||79.6|
|Roger Staubach||1971||DAL||120.5||Fran Tarkenton||1976||MIN||79.1|
|Joe Montana||1981||SFO||119.3||Brett Favre||1997||GNB||78.4|
|Troy Aikman||1992||DAL||117.9||Johnny Unitas||1970||BAL||77.4|
|Troy Aikman||1995||DAL||116.1||Joe Namath||1968||NYJ||68.9|
|Chris Chandler||1998||ATL||115.1||Jim Plunkett||1980||OAK||68.2|
|Earl Morrall||1968||BAL||115.0||Peyton Manning||2006||IND||66.3|
|Matt Hasselbeck||2005||SEA||114.9||Tony Eason||1985||NWE||65.4|
|Aaron Rodgers||2010||GNB||112.9||Jim Kelly||1993||BUF||63.0|
|Fran Tarkenton||1974||MIN||111.8||Jeff Hostetler||1990||NYG||62.4|
|Eli Manning||2007||NYG||108.2||Tom Brady||2003||NWE||59.7|
|Stan Humphries||1994||SDG||107.8||Terry Bradshaw||1975||PIT||59.4|
|David Woodley||1982||MIA||106.6||Len Dawson||1969||KAN||59.2|
|Terry Bradshaw||1974||PIT||106.6||John Elway||1986||DEN||56.3|
|Brett Favre||1996||GNB||106.6||Billy Kilmer||1972||WAS||48.5|
|Terry Bradshaw||1979||PIT||103.2||Vince Ferragamo||1979||RAM||45.8|
|Kurt Warner||2008||ARI||103.1||Phil Simms||1986||NYG||45.6|
|Kurt Warner||2001||STL||102.4||Craig Morton||1970||DAL||45.5|
|Joe Theismann||1982||WAS||102.1||Kerry Collins||2000||NYG||44.8|
|Bob Griese||1973||MIA||100.6||Jim Kelly||1991||BUF||44.6|
|Jake Delhomme||2003||CAR||100.2||Bob Griese||1972||MIA||43.1|
|John Elway||1997||DEN||99.7||Donovan McNabb||2004||PHI||40.4|
|Kurt Warner||1999||STL||98.4||Joe Kapp||1969||MIN||39.8|
|Steve Young||1994||SFO||98.0||Doug Williams||1987||WAS||37.7|
|Len Dawson||1966||KAN||97.7||Tom Brady||2001||NWE||35.2|
|Ben Roethlisberger||2010||PIT||96.3||Neil O’Donnell||1995||PIT||29.5|
|Rich Gannon||2002||OAK||94.2||Steve McNair||1999||TEN||24.2|
|Ben Roethlisberger||2005||PIT||93.2||Ron Jaworski||1980||PHI||21.0|
|Joe Montana||1984||SFO||93.2||Trent Dilfer||2000||BAL||20.9|
|Craig Morton||1977||DEN||92.1||Boomer Esiason||1988||CIN||2.9|
|Roger Staubach||1978||DAL||91.8||Jim Kelly||1992||BUF||2.2|
|Ben Roethlisberger||2008||PIT||91.2||Drew Bledsoe||1996||NWE||-10.7|
|Bob Griese||1971||MIA||90.8||Rex Grossman||2006||CHI||-13.1|
According to this ranking he’s considered a top 25 QB in NFL history who was playing extremely good football for his team heading into the playoffs. Let’s look at who Eli first ranks below on this list to find out what kind of company he’s dealing with. And keep in mind a lot of these players are up there multiple times in the first 25 slots:
Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Ken Stabler, Peyton Manning, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Bart Starr, Joe Montana, Daryle Lamonica, Troy Aikman, Matt Hasselbeck, Chris Chandler, Earl Morrall, and Fran Tarkenton. Obviously hard to argue with…
Oh and one more thing, see that name two spaces above Eli Manning’s name? Yes, Aaron Rodgers — who undoubtedly is playing tremendous football right now and seems to have taken over honors as the league’s best passer next to Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees… he’s having only a slightly better wild card performance than Eli Manning did in 2007. Do with that information what you will, just sayin’… the comparison has been made.
So obviously, Eli is trailing some good company here. But now the question remains – who exactly does he rank above? Frankly there are so many, so let’s just focus on the most interesting names in NFL history shall we:
Terry Bradshaw, Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, Joe Montana, Len Dawson, Ben Roethlisberger, , Rich Gannon, Steve Young, John Elway, Bob Griese, Joe Theismann, Ron Jaworski, Jim Kelly, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Fran Tarkenton, Jim McMahon, among many others who rank below Eli Manning’s accomplishments in 2007. And of course you have the most obvious comparisons — PHIL SIMMS IN 1986, Jeff Hostetler in 1990, and TOM BRADY IN 2007 all rank below Eli Manning by a wide margin.
Of the players still currently playing in the NFL, Peyton Manning is clearly the best of the lot… although his best season statistically did not yield a Super Bowl title. Still, he clearly is the elite QB among his contemporaries. Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Rodgers just barely get above Eli’s numbers for the 2007 season… and we’ll see what becomes of Rodgers’ momentum in a couple of weeks.
Ben Roethlisberger obviously has been playing well, and he is a future hall-of-famer regardless of what you think of his personal decisions. And relative to himself, Big Ben is pretty consistent in his effectiveness. According to this measure, Rodgers clearly has the edge heading into Super Bowl Sunday.
I just thought that it was worth noting that the Defense isn’t the ONLY reason the NY Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007, and to nudge everyone out there critical of Eli — he has shown before that he is capable of playing great football. If he did “take a step sideways” this season, if he was just trying to “do too much” with the INTs — we’ll see next year. Hopefully though Eli can get back to making better decisions in the future and get his name appearing on this board at the end of next season for a second time… hopefully with many more appearances to come.