No matter what kind of numbers New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has, he doesn’t get the respect he deserves unless the season ends with a championship – not at all unlike the treatment of four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James.
At least, that’s the way Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison sees things after Manning was snubbed by peers on a list of the NFL’s top 100 players in 2017. A four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion, Manning threw for over 4,000 yards last season, and finished in a three-way tie for 10th with 26 touchdown passes while guiding New York to an 11-win season and playoff berth.
But Manning wasn’t able to carry the Giants all the way, so like James, some observers might feel as though that somehow detracts from the signal caller’s greatness or legacy.
“When you look at Eli, it’s kind of like when you look at LeBron,” Harrison said on the NFL Network Monday. “I’m not saying they’re the same, but look at Eli’s numbers. If any other quarterback would have those numbers, it would be an amazing year, but it being Eli, nobody is respecting it as much, as we do LeBron. LeBron can average 30 (points), 15 rebounds and 12 assists and it’s like, ‘He didn’t do enough.’”
Naturally, comparing any athlete to James is a dicey proposition. He’s been arguably the most dominant individual in his sport for the last decade-plus, with the statistics and tape to back up such a statement.
Manning didn’t have a terrible season in 2016, but wasn’t even a top-10 passer is most categories, including completion percentage (63.0), passing yards (4,027) and yards per attempt (6.7). Meanwhile, one area where Manning did manage to outpace many of his peers was interceptions with 16, coming in a three-way tie for fourth.
When you look at the numbers, as Harrison insists, Manning was not awesome. In many cases, “any other quarterback” had a similar line or better.
Generally speaking, Manning probably doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Last season, the stats did not support those claims.
This story was written by Andrew Kulp and first appeared here on All22.com.