What does a two-time Super Bowl MVP who passed for a career-best 4,933 yards and led eight fourth-quarter comebacks last season have to do to get the full respect of his peers? Apparently more than New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has already done in his eight-year career.
Despite his accomplishments it seems like where Manning ranks among NFL quarterbacks is always going to be a source of debate. This offseason has seen former Giants wide receiver and current NFL analyst Amani Toomer has insisted that he would take Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo over Manning. NFL players voted Manning No. 31 on the NFL Network Top 100 Players list. That is better than not appearing at all, which Manning did not in 2011, but still behind quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers (1), Drew Brees (2), Tom Brady (4) and Ben Roethlisberger (30) in the eyes of fellow NFL players.
As long as Manning and the Giants collect Super Bowl rings neither he nor Giants fans will care about about rankings such as these. Yet there is still this question -- can Manning, 31, continue to get better?
Manning was fourth in the league in passing yards last season, but he still threw 16 interceptions. Only six quarterbacks were picked off more times. His completion percentage of 61 percent was only 13th in the league and his passer rating of 92.9 was seventh.
So yes, there are still areas of Manning's game that can get better. Even though he is often not pretty, however, he has proven again and again that he is most dangerous when the stakes are the highest. Historically, the bigger the situation the better Manning has played. The Giants will, undoubtedly, take the rings over the rankings.
What happens if Manning, who has started 130 straight games for the Giants including postseason games, is injured?
David Carr is the primary backup. Carr, a 10-year veteran, is a capable backup but did not throw a pass for the Giants last season. New York would like to keep it that way. Carr has thrown only 58 passes in the last four seasons.
The third quarterback is 25-year-old Ryan Perrilloux, who spent last season bouncing on and off the Giants' practice squad. He was cut or signed a total of 10 times last season.