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Is Eli Manning Really in the Same Class as Tom Brady?

Tom Brady and Eli Manning (Pinkus/Getty)

In an interview on the Michael Kay Show, one of the Manning brothers said he was in the same class as New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady.  No big deal, right?  Peyton is every bit as good as Brady, and… WAIT, WHAT?!? IT WAS ELI?!?  So Eli Manning thinks he is in the same class as Tom Brady.  Interesting…

To summarize, when asked if he was in the same tier as the future Hall of Famer Brady, Eli Manning responded by saying “I consider myself in that class.”  So Eli Manning really does believe he is in that class.  Maybe he is just talking about a really big class.  Or, maybe he is just delusional.  Ignoring the fact that he was completely put on the spot, and that we don’t know if he actually believes what he said, let’s take a look.

Quarterback Classes

First off, I am Giants fan, and my favorite sports moment of my life is the Giants upset victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.  I definitely want my starting quarterback to be confident, but at first glance, this seems just seems like madness.  Before we get started on Eli, we need to define this “class” that he is talking about, and we will leave him out of these rankings for now.

The first class, or top tier, of NFL quarterbacks are the guys who change franchises, alter seasons and win Super Bowls when they have a good enough team around them.  In the NFL today, this class consists of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.  This is a pretty widely accepted top tier, as all four of these guys have a Super Bowl MVP to their name.  Maybe you could argue for Michael Vick or Ben Roethlisberger because of various reasons, but I have them firmly in the second tier.  Along with those two, the rest of my second tier would be made up of Phillip Rivers, Tony Romo and maybe Matt Schaub, with Matt Ryan and a couple of younger guys waiting to move in with some more success.

So where does Eli belong?  Well, there is only one other active NFL quarterback with a Super Bowl MVP in his trophy case. His name? Eli Manning. Yes, that same Eli Manning that says he belongs in the same “class” as Tom Brady. Is there a more important award a quarterback can get in the NFL?  Nope. It is definitely the most coveted by any quarterback, as it means your team won the Super Bowl and you did a great deal to make that happen. Does this mean Eli is right?  Does he belong in the class of elite quarterbacks because of this statistic?


The (Foot)Ball Don’t Lie

Tom Brady has 3 Super Bowl titles.  Only 3 other quarterbacks in history can say that.  Tom Brady has 2 Super Bowl MVP awards.  Only 3 other quarterbacks in history can say that.  Tom Brady has the single season record for touchdown passes in a season.  Tom Brady’s career passer rating is 5th all-time at 95.2, while Eli Manning’s single season best is a 93.1.

Continuing to throw these numbers around seems unnecessary, the evidence is just overwhelming. Tom Brady is in another class. Tom Brady is in another league! Eli Manning belongs in that second class of quarterbacks, and I am happy to have him as my signal caller (most of the time).  That said, I am 100% sure that if given the opportunity, anyone would take Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers over him.

You know what else I’m sure of?  Eli Manning is 1-0 against Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, and that should count for something.

About Jason Damiano

I am a New York sports fan through and through, as I was born and raised a Yankees, Giants and Knicks fan. I currently reside in Manhattan, and I have an educational background in engineering. This gives me a slightly different perspective than most journalists. I write for and, and you can follow me on Twitter @Jdsports313.

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One comment for “Is Eli Manning Really in the Same Class as Tom Brady?”

  1. 2nd column for @sportsofnewyork on Eli Manning comparing himself to Tom Brady

    Posted by Jason Damiano | August 19, 2011, 6:55 pm

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