Eli Manning: Silencing the Critics

Who DeyCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2008

"Unstoppable—Eli Manning is."

How many times have you seen the Citizens Watch commercial calling the struggling New York Giants quarterback unstoppable? Furthermore, how many times did you laugh at it?

I know I did, as did many of my friends.

But right before our eyes, we have witnessed an unimaginable growth in a quarterback. A quarterback who has stepped out of the shadow of his brother, to lead his team to the Super Bowl.

His famous older brother Peyton will be sitting on his couch, or filming more Mastercard pep talks, while Eli—yes, Eli—will be taking the field in Glendale, Arizona on Super Bowl Sunday.

It was just weeks ago, that Eli Manning threw four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, in an embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

For the entire week, so called experts stated the Manning could not perform in the second half of the season.

The next two games, Manning's numbers were just as pathetic. A 34.6 percent completion rate in a loss to Washington, including a lost fumble.

The following week, the Giants won an interstate rival with the Bills, but not because of Eli's arm. He fumbled the ball five times, losing two of them, and only threw 15 passes in the 38-21 victory.

The critics did not go away.

Eli heard their criticism, but unlike seasons before, Eli did not fold—he defied them.

In week 17 against New England, Manning developed an air of confidence, despite blowing a third quarter lead in their loss to the perfect Pats. But it was his play that had the 4th year quarterback poised and ready for the playoffs.

He has been stellar ever since.

Manning has been incredible in the playoffs. Of all his struggles, turnovers seemed to be his biggest downfall. In the postseason thus far, he has none

Four touchdowns and no interceptions, or fumbles lost, in the Giants' three wins against Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Green Bay this postseason.

Most amazing of all aspects, all three wins have come on the road.

There was a point in time when all the Giants asked of their quarterback was not to lose.

Now, they know he can step up and win a football game.

The New York football Giants will now fly out to Glendale, Arizona to face the 18-0 New England Patriots.

The Giants do not have a chance.

Nor did they have a chance against Green Bay or against Dallas.

This team may not win the Super Bowl. In fact, Belichick and the Patriots might blow them away. Tom Brady might throw for 400 yards and 5 touchdowns, and Randy Moss may actually make an appearance.

But the growth of Eli Manning in the last four weeks will make a lasting impact for years to come. He may not have the pizzaz of his elder brother Peyton, or the rah-rah type leadership that everyone is looking for, but Eli Manning is starting to look, well, unstoppable. And so are the Giants.