At the end of the year, Eli Manning will have proven that he is anything but the No. 36 ranked quarterback in the NFL, a number that is so low that it is absurd.
Several rookies and backups were ranked ahead of Manning in the recently released Madden NFL 19 player ratings, a total of 35 quarterbacks allegedly better than the New York Giants star. It is laughable to think that Manning, four times a Pro Bowl selection and twice a Super Bowl MVP, is so far down the list. Manning, in fact, has a ranking of 76 and is squarely among several backup categories with that score.
That first round pick Baker Mayfield, yet to play a snap in the NFL and possibly to start the season on the bench for the Cleveland Browns, is ranked considerably better than Manning with a score of 81 is what makes this list so absurd. Josh Rosen, also a first-round pick, is ranked ahead of Manning with a score of 78.
Manning was benched last year for one game in a move that was so bad that it caused the release of the general manager and head coach. 2018 was a down year for Manning but still not horrific.
Whoever came up with these ratings from their mother’s basement needs to get out more. Or, maybe it is former head coach Ben McAdoo, trying to one-up his quarterback at least in the realm of video games.
Important numbers such as completion percentage and touchdown: Interception ratio still was at the career average for Manning, pointing to the fact that he can still throw the ball. The fact that Eli basically had no one to throw to while being protected by one of the league’s worst offensive lines didn’t help matters.
But a return to health of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will surely help, as will the continued development of third-year wide receiver Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram, who was solid a year ago. Signing free agent left tackle Nate Solder and guard Patrick Omameh helps along the offensive line as does adding a nasty guard in Will Hernandez in the second round of the NFL Draft.
Then, taking running back Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall finally gives a team some much-needed parity in their offensive game plan. Manning, if he stays healthy, will instantly be better because of these moves.
Manning clearly is closer to retirement than the start of his career, but to say that two rookie quarterbacks are better than him or that he is on the level of several backups is absurd. Names like Blake Bortles or Josh McCown, though fine and effective starting quarterbacks, are not ahead of the best quarterback in franchise history.
And it isn’t a matter of what Manning has done over the course of a career that has him pointed to Canton someday. It is the fact that several key numbers point to continued productivity and that he is just a year removed from one of the best passing seasons in franchise history in 2017.
Manning, the Madden ratings aside, is closer to being that quarterback from two years ago than the one who was throwing from his back with little ground game in 2017.
And that is Manning in reality, not some video game.