By DREW OLSON
Somewhere amid the expensive commercials and elaborate lip-syncing that went on Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium, Giants quarterback Eli Manning captured another Super Bowl ring. Many folks are now ready to admit that he is “an elite quarterback” -- whatever that means.
And, some are saying that -- as a result of New York’s exciting victory over New England -- Peyton’s little brother has punched his ticket to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
I say, “Wait a minute.”
This is another case where the football public -- led by many of my well-meaning colleagues in the media -- suffer from quarterback / playoff myopia.
Quarterbacks get far too much credit for victories and far too much blame for losses. Many Packers fans can rattle off Aaron Rodgers’ record in playoff games. That’s terrific. Now, what is Donald Drivers’ record in the postseason? OK, that’s unfair. How about Ray Lewis or Troy Polamalu? Those guys are game-changing players and they both are going to end up in Canton.
Eli Manning is a solid quarterback. He’s a two-time champion. He’s what many call “clutch,” a phrase that usually makes me clutch my chest. But, is he one of the all-time greats?
Until the subject came up during an interview with Michael Kay before the season, was Manning really considered one of the top five quarterbacks in any given year? Whenever the subject came up in my circle, he always drifted to the bottom of the second five.
Take a look at his career stat line for the regular season. It’s not bad and he still has five or six years to pad his resume. But, when you look at the numbers do you think “Brett Favre” or do you think “David Garrard” or “Jake Delhomme?”
During his time as a starter, Manning has been incredibly durable and -- if we’re being honest -- a little inconsistent. He ranks fourth in touchdown passes, but first in interceptions. He’s 17th in passer rating and 23rd in completion percentage.
Do those numbers scream “Hall of Fame” to you?
Manning has never led the league in a major category except interceptions, which he has done twice in the past three years as his team missed the playoffs. Just how was that “clutch?”
That’s the issue with giving quarterbacks all the credit for Super Bowl victories. If you choose to do that, how do you treat the years that don’t end in confetti and Gatorade showers?
Is Eli Manning better or more accomplished than Jim Kelly, who was 0-4 on the Super Bowl stage? How does Kelly look compared to Tom Brady, who is now 3-2 in Super Bowls?
Forget Super Bowls for a minute. Let's focus on the bigger sample: how do you treat the regular season? Call me a statistical snob, but I truly believe in the “small sample” argument when it comes to the playoffs. Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings. Nobody can take those away. But, nobody can deny that he wouldn’t have them without a miraculous catch by David Tyree and an almost equally unlikely misfire by Tom Brady what could have been a “dagger” pass to Wes Welker.
For some, the fact that Eli has two Super Bowl rings makes him a “lock” for the Hall. It didn’t work out that way for Jim Plunkett, did it?
Eli Manning has a few more years to polish his resume. If he has five or six more quality seasons, he very well could find himself heading to Canton for an induction ceremony. But, I don’t think he’s a lock for a yellow blazer just because his team won last night.
BUCKS -- vs. Phoenix, 7 p.m. Tuesday
BADGERS -- vs. Minnesota, 7 p.m. Tuesday
GOLDEN EAGLES -- at. DePaul, 8 tonight
PANTHERS -- at Detroit, 6 p.m. Friday
5 a.m. -- Mike & Mike in the Morning
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10 a.m. -- The D-List
1 p.m. -- Scott Van Pelt Show
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7:30 p.m. -- College basketball. Marquette vs. DePaul
10:30 p.m. -- ESPN Radio
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THIS DATE IN SPORTS HISTORY (Feb. 6)
1926 - NFL rules college students ineligible until college classes graduates
1926 - St Louis Browns acquire catcher Wally Schang from NY Yankees
1932 - 1st Olympic dog sled race, Lake Placid, NY (demonstration sport)
1936 - 4th Winter Olympic games open in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
1958 - Ted Williams signs with Red Sox for $135,000, making him highest paid
1967 - Muhammad Ali TKOs Ernie Terrell in 15 for Heavyweight boxing title
1968 - 10th Winter Olympic games opens in Grenoble, France
1970 - NBA expands to 18 teams with Buffalo, Cleveland, Houston & Portland
1971 - 1st time a golf ball is hit on Moon (by Alan Shepard)
1983 - 13th NFL Pro Bowl: NFC beats AFC 20-19
1983 - Nancy Lopez wins LPGA Elizabeth Arden Golf Classic
1986 - NJ Devil Peter McNab becomes 42nd NHLer to score 350 goals
1990 - Brett Hull becomes 1st son of NHL 50 goal scorer (Bobby) to score 50
1990 - Ground breaking begins on Baltimore Orioles' new $102 million stadium
1993 - 44th NHL All-Star Game: Wales beat Campbell 16-6 at Montreal
1993 - Arthur Ashe, tennis star (Wimbledon 1975), dies of AIDS at 49
1993 - Riddick Bowe TKOs Michael Dokes in 1 for Heavyweight boxing title
1994 - Dawn Coe-Jones wins LPGA Healthsouth Palm Beach Golf Classic
1994 - Leonid Voloshin triple jumps world record 17.77m
1994 - NFL Pro Bowl: NFC beats AFC 17-3
1995 - Darryl Strawberry suspended from baseball for 60 days
1998 - Twins trade Chuck Knoblauch to NY Yankees for $3M & 4 minor leaguers
2005 - Super Bowl XXXIX, the New England Patriots win 24-21 over the Philadelphia Eagles
2007 - Lew Burdette, former Braves pitcher, dies (b. 1926)
FEB. 6 BIRTHDAYS
1895 - George Herman (Babe) Ruth, Baltimore, baseball great (Yankees)
1927 - Smokey Burgess, baseball catcher (Pittsburgh Pirates)
1947 - Charles Hickcox, US, 200m/400m medley swimmer (Olympic-3 gold-1968)
1949 - Manuel Orantes, tennis champ (US Open-1975)
1949 - Richie Zisk, baseball player
1966 - Tom Tupa, NFL punter/quarterback (Cleveland Browns, NE Patriots)
1967 - Randy Hilliard, NFL defensive back (Denver Broncos-Superbowl 32)
1969 - Bob Wickman, Abrams WI, pitcher (Chic White Sox, NY Yankees, Brewers, Indians)
1969 - Kurt Abbott, US baseball player (Florida Marlins)
1970 - Mark Hutton, Adelaide Australia, pitcher (NY Yankees)
1971 - Carlos Rogers, NBA forward/center (Toronto Raptors)
1972 - Shawn Respert, NBA guard (Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors)
1975 - Chad Allen, Dallas Tx, baseball outfielder (Olympics-bronze-96)
1976 - Kim Zmeskal, Houston TX, US gymnist (Olympic-92)
1983 - Brodie Croyle, American football player
1985 - Kris Humphries, American basketball player