Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 11/9/11

Elite or not elite that is the question??

Super Bowl Champion…Super Bowl MVP….defeated what could have been the greatest team of all time and was a part of one of the most wild and unbelievable plays in Super Bowl history.

Despite all of that the question still remains is Eli Manning an elite QB.

This past off-season Eli Manning was asked whether or not he considers himself an elite QB, he responded “I think I am. That's my opinion."

Eli Manning has always struggled to gain respect being Peyton’s younger brother but this past week; Eli took control of his team and led his team down the field to a game winning drive, out duelling Tom Brady.

The problem with this discussion is what the average fan considers an "Elite QB." Personally, I think an elite QB is a franchise QB who is consistently in the top 10 quarterbacks of the league. 

Everyone’s top 10 QB list is different but right now I would go with: 1) Aaron Rodgers 2) Tom Brady 3) Drew Brees 4) Big Ben 5) Eli Manning 6) Philip Rivers 7) Tony Romo 8) Michael Vick 9) Matt Ryan 10) Jay Cutler

(Peyton Manning isn’t on this list because we don’t know when, or if, he will be back)

If there was any doubt before this season, Eli is using this year to prove the doubters wrong. 

Eli has led his team to a 6-2 record while his team has suffered injuries to key players such as Nicks and Bradshaw who are debatably the team's two best play makers. Eli is currently 7th in the league in passing yards, 5th in passing touchdowns, and has only thrown 6 interceptions which is down from his pace of last year.

Another key aspect of being one of that very special "elite" group is the ability to be clutch and elevate your game when your team needs it most. This year 803 of Eli's 2377 yards and 8 of his 15 touchdowns have come in the 4th quarter, and he's completing 68.7% of his passes in those last 15 minutes of games. In another impressive clutch stat, 11 of his touchdowns this year have come when his team trailed, proving he always can keep his team in the game.

To me however the final stat you need to know about Eli Manning is that, besides his rookie year, the Giants have not finished a season below .500 with Eli as a starter! The guy is a winner!

And as coach Herm says, "YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME." 

Those seem like pretty elite numbers to me! However the general public is still not convinced. A poll on ESPN’s Sports Nation showed only 52% of the people think Eli is elite.

Regardless of fan perceptions, his teammates know what they have. Eli has not only grown as a player on the field but has also grown off the field, commanding respect from his fellow teammates and his coaches.  

“I don’t know why the guy doesn’t get the respect he deserves,” teammate Chris Snee said, “but when we’re in that situation in the two-minute drill, there’s no one I’d rather have.”

So, next time you talk about Eli Manning don’t be afraid to bring up the “E” word! ELITE! 

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