Tiki Barber hasn’t always had the nicest things to say about his former teammate Eli Manning, but the former Giants running back paid the current Giants quarterback a pretty big compliment on Wednesday.
During the show on the CBS Sports Radio Network that Barber hosts with Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson, Manning’s spot in the NFL’s quarterback hierarchy came up for discussion. Barber said that he thinks Manning is close to being one of the top five quarterbacks of all time and that he has already passed one heralded quarterback who shares his last name.
“The expectation was that he was never going to be Peyton. I remember having these conversations with people who watched Eli in college, saying, ‘He’s good, but he’s never going to be Peyton, he’s not Peyton.’ Guess what? I think he’s better than Peyton,” Barber said. “Because of clutch. What matters in sports? It’s winning and losing. You get to the stage and what do you do? Eli’s gotten there and he’s won.”
Two Super Bowl rings speak for themselves as do the playoff failures of some very good teams quarterbacked by Peyton Manning, but there’s a flip side to that coin. The Giants have missed the playoffs in three of the last four years, which has to reflect on Eli if you’re going to make winning and losing the crux of your argument. By comparison, Peyton’s teams have missed the playoffs just twice over the course of his career. And that’s before you even delve into the staggering numbers that the elder Manning brother has amassed during his career.
That doesn’t mean you can’t make a case for Eli being the better Manning, but one would have to consist of more than just saying he’s clutch because the job responsibilities go beyond that.