I've challenged Jeremy Fuchs, site editor for GiantsGab, a leading Giants blog, to a series of debates in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Jeremy is a longtime New York sports fan who is looking forward to the Giants raising the Lombardi trophy one more time against the Pats.
Today's fight: Who has the better big-game QB?
Jeremy Fuchs says:
I'm not a jealous man, but I will admit to having some Brady jealousy. The Hollywood good looks, the California cool, the supermodel wife and actress baby mamma and his multitude of riches will make any man jealous. Eli Manning offers none of that. He's not all that cool, he married his college sweetheart, and despite being born into football royalty, if you didn't know he was a NFL QB, you would think he's just a regular guy That said, I have to take Eli Manning as my big game QB. While both are Super Bowl MVPs, and Brady does have two more rings, a few things lead me to this.
For one, Eli Manning does have a better career passing rating in the playoffs. Eli has an 88.1 rating in the playoffs, while number 12 has an 87.6 passer rating. While passer rating is an incomplete measure of a quarterback's ability, and the difference here is slight, it is a difference nonetheless.
For another, Eli Manning is playing better football right now. His playoff streak, starting with the Falcons, beating the 15-1 Packers at home, and beating a tough San Francisco defense, is exceptional. His regular season was also terrific. Brady has the better numbers, but Eli did more with less. He elevated Victor Cruz from undrafted nobody to an All-Pro level. He doesn't have anyone close to Rob Gronkowski.
And finally, and perhaps more importantly, when it mattered most, it was Eli who beat Brady in the last Super Bowl. Yes, it was a close game, and Brady was at the helm of an historic offense. But it was Eli who made the plays when it mattered, despite how unlikely those plays might have been.
Defining which big game QB is better is difficult; there is no measure of big game skills. All we have is record. Brady has more rings. But head to head, it's Eli who takes the crown.
Of course, what type of Giants fan would I be if I didn't go with Eli, who, despite his "aw shucks" mentality and general indifferent expression, there's no denying that he's no longer just Peyton?s little brother. He?s an elite QB, who has proven to be clutch. And there?s no denying that.
For a guy who has 16 postseason victories about to play in his fifth Super Bowl - Brady has certainly developed a reputation of late as a guy who somehow can't win the big one.
Even Brady admitted he "sucked" against the Ravens in the AFC championship game before thanking the defense for bailing him out. He can add Billy Cundiff, John Harbaugh and the Gillette scoreboard operator to his list. Then he added:" I'm going to try to go out and do a better job in a couple weeks."
He practically guaranteed victory in the Super Bowl.
The ugly numbers don't lie. Starting with Super Bowl XLII (when he went an abysmal 29 for 48 for 266 yards and 1 TD), Brady is 2-3 in his past five playoff games. Save for the blowout of the Broncos, he really hasn't lit it up in the postseason since the Patriots first-round win over Jacksonville back in January of 2008. He opened 16 for 16 that night and finished 26 of 28 (92.9 percent).
But as Bill Belichick says: "Stats are for losers."
Wisdom comes with being a Baby Daddy, Super Model Husband, married father and postseason humiliation. Brady knows he can't do it alone. The Patriots have a solid ground game when needed and actually outrushed the Giants this season (1.764-1,417). Brady's raw skills (see his 105.6 rating, 5,235 yards passing and 39 TDs this season) have not diminished. Brady is healthier now than he was four years ago since he won't be dealing with a bad foot.
Even in Super Bowl XLII, Brady left his team in the lead with 2:43 to play and its 19-0 record intact. It wasn't his fault Asante Samuel can't jump, the refs didn't call in-the-grasp on the Tyree catch or Ellis Hobbs got toasted by Pistol Plax's pump fake.
Brady has a cheat sheet - the Giants 24-20 win over New England on Nov. 6. He knows this Giants' defense and won't have the false sense of security that he had heading into SB XLII after hanging 38 points on New York five weeks earlier.
Even the edge in family connections belongs to Tom. Peyton's brother and Archie's son doesn't stand a chance against God's Nephew.
This one is in the bag.
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