Simms says Eli not elite, Algonquin Round Table sobs quietly

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When you talk for a living, and are constantly challenged to come up with a fresh “take,” the law of averages dictates that eventually if not regularly, something stupid is going to fall out of your mouth.

Step right up, Phil Simms.

Four months after declaring Giants quarterback Eli Manning Canton-bound, Simms fell into the trap of the we-must-debate-silly-things crowd.

No, he is not one of the elites,” Simms said on CBS Sports Network’s “NFL Monday QB” show. “Because when I hear the word elite, I’m thinking about guys that can make unbelievable plays on the field by themselves. There are very few quarterbacks in that category.

“So yes, Eli has been a tremendous team player. He has been MVP of the Super Bowl twice. I know that. But the way I look at it, the answer is no.”

Pause. Deep breath.

Let’s rewind to August.

“Here we were five years ago, before the Giants won their first Super Bowl, and all the talk that year was maybe the Giants need to bring another quarterback in and Tom Coughlin’s in trouble,” Simms told USA Today. “Now they both absolutely one day will go in the Hall of Fame.”

First of all, the notion that we have to weekly define who is and who isn’t “elite” is silly. One of the remarkable things about the passage of time is it generally sorts that out for us.

Because if Eli Manning, winner of a pair of Super Bowl titles and MVPs, isn’t elite, it’s hard to know how many fit the definition, historically.

Manning’s in a slump now, true. As Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News points out, he’s thrown 99 straight passes without a touchdown, the longest streak of his career. He’s been picked off four times in the last three games with no touchdowns, and may or may not have a tired arm.

But this constant and around-the-clock need to quantify, to parse, to rank and to provoke leads only to smart people saying dumb things.

Monday was just Simms’ turn.

51 responses to “Simms says Eli not elite, Algonquin Round Table sobs quietly

  1. It’s all just semantics, really. For instance, if you consider elite to be Peyton/Brady/Rodgers/Brees, under that definition, Eli isn’t “elite”.

    I don’t think an entire freak-out article was necessary over this. You’d think Simms had just declared jihad or something.

  2. Eli is not “elite” this year so far…..He was last year on his way to his 2nd SB.

    He was in no way “elite” during his 1st trip to SB. Matter of fact I don’t think he has had “elite” numbers other than last year……

    Is Eli “elite”? With 2 SB’s, is Rothlisberger “elite”?

    nope to both. IMO

  3. First of all Eli isn’t elite so he’s not wrong. Second if he continues to put up solid numbers after winning 2 Super Bowls he will be in the HOF. Am I missing something?

  4. The problem with the question of “who is elite”, is that it needs context. Is he elite compared to my ability, certainly; in the history of the NFL, probably; in the current NFL, probably not. At worst an elite group is the top 10% among their peers. In the NFL that would mean the 3 best starting quarterbacks. I wouldn’t put Eli in that category.

  5. Wow, talk about “what have you done for me lately?”.

    Is he going to call for David Carr if Eli plays bad next week?

  6. I think it is a legitimate argument. If we don’t argue these things, what are we supposed to argue about… our feelings?

    1. His best years, he clearly seems there.
    But… He has had several years that he has been pedestrian. Last year’s excellence was bookended by high interceptions and low touchdowns.

    2. He was the Super Bowl MVP of 2 Super Bowls and deservedly so.
    But… Individuals don’t win Super Bowls; teams do. And a cursory look at the list of Super Bowl winning QBs and Super Bowl Winning MVPs indicates elite is not prerequisite.

    I think only time is going to sort it out. There are times I think he is but when I stop and consider the QBs that I consider truly elite, I wouldn’t trade any of them in their prime for him. But someone has to be the worst elite… this is why it is fun to argue it.

  7. “Because when I hear the word elite, I’m thinking about guys that can make unbelievable plays on the field by themselves. There are very few quarterbacks in that category.”

    By that definition, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and all other great pocket passers don’t qualify as elite as only quarterbacks that can scramble can make unbelievable plays by themselves.

    If that is what he really means, the word “elite” pretty much loses all meaning as it excludes some of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

    I’m fine with that though, it’s a silly discussion to begin with. Maybe people will sober up and stop using it once they realize how little real value it adds to the discussion about quarterbacks.

  8. “I’m thinking about guys that can make unbelievable plays on the field by themselves.”

    Um, not aware of any QB that can do that except for the most mobile of QB. The position by its definition rarely makes play by itself.

  9. Eli is not as talented as Brady, Rodgers, Payton and Brees, but he is as clutch as clutch gets. And that speaks to his ‘intestinal fortitude’… nothing wrong with being a clutch QB.

  10. I am a New York Giants fan and supporter of Eli Manning but even I can see that he is not playing elite right now. But, that’s the beauty of football. You can play bad for three quarters than rally your team to a victory and have everyone cheering for you and saying you’re elite.

    All Eli has to do is get back to winning football games. I’d rather be 11-5, or 10-6 instead of throwing for 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns while going 5-11. Manning and the Giants needed this bye week and hopefully they can right their wrongs.

  11. Simms also said Andrew Luck didn’t have a big enough arm to play in the NFL. In other words, he’s an idiot.

  12. What’s the deal with this obsession over who is elite and who isn’t? Who cares? He wins games, he’s won a couple of Superbowls. History can decide on the elite question – this conversation is a frivolous way for talk radio personalities and analysts to create a discussion that doesn’t need to be had. I fail to understand fans continued attention to comments like this. It. Doesn’t. Matter. At. All.

  13. For years, I thought Eli was underrated. He’s usually terrific in the clutch, and he’s capable of true greatness. The thing is, as even most Giants fans will admit, he’s also a lot less consistent than the other four or five “elites” with whom he’s often associated, and capable of far lower lows. I realize that Brady, Peyton, Rodgers, Brees etc. still go through bad games and maybe even minor slumps, but their bad games are not AS bad. And it’s not just this season; every year, Eli follows up a few MVP-level games with a few games that look a whole lot more Sanchez-esque than the other “elites.”

    Eli is a major reason why his team has two SB rings, but football is a team sport, so I personally am not a fan of using the number of rings as the sole criteria by which to measure greatness in a QB.

    Is Eli truly elite? It depends how generously one is defining the term. I think he’s a top six QB, but not a top three or four. That said, Eli is very, very good, and often truly great. The media’s obsession with distinguishing the “elite” from the “really, really good QBs who are capable of winning championships anyway” is, for me, utterly meaningless.

  14. I have said this for years. It is the WR’s he has had that make him look good. Watch their highlight reels and look at the circus catches they make that keep the drive going.

  15. Dolphin Fan here so I have no stake in this but here is my take anyway. I feel that Eli Manning, even though his current play might not support it is elite. He has 2 SB championships and 2 SB MVP’s. Brady has 3 SB Championships and 2 SB MVP’s but he also has 2 participants rings. Roth has 2/1. Based on these stats I would say he is elite.

  16. I’m a redskins fan,and eli manning is the best qb in the nfc! Sims is just pissed by eli eventually owning all his ny giant records and making him even more obselete than he already is! phil sims won 1 superbowl,hostetler won the other,he just can’t stand to be wiped off the record books and into oblivion where he belongs!

  17. Darin…you are so RIGHT about the notion of professional talkers constantly debating and creating false conflict over mostly mind-numbing stuff. One of the reasons is the 24/7 ‘news’ that we are bombarded with. One of the most laughable examples of this is on NFL Network: They have so much time to fill, that every other discussion is setting up some shallow comparison, so that they can then do the never-ending Point/Counter-Point mindless Cross-Fire Debate.

  18. I’ve been watching NFL for over 50 years and have seen many great QB’s. Eli is a really sound QB who still has time to get better, but he is more on the level of a Jim Harbaugh than a Johnny Unitas. He’s good enough to get the job done on a team with great players and coaching, just like Bob Griese was.

  19. Um……really who cares, the guy has won two Superbowls and was the MVP in each. Only a handful of qb’s can make that claim, and Simms is not one of them.

  20. Eli’s 2 Super Bowl MVPs are bogus. He was far from the MVP in both games. It just goes to the quarterback by default…

  21. taintedlombardis says: Nov 14, 2012 9:10 AM

    Eli’s 2 Super Bowl MVPs are bogus. He was far from the MVP in both games. It just goes to the quarterback by default…
    Really loser, then how come plenty of other players have won the award that are not Qb’s? Get a grip there Bitter Bob, I mean who really cares anyway as long as you win the SB, which is the goal in the first place.

  22. Who ever decided that the term ‘elite’ really meant anything? Take a look at Rodgers and Brees earlier this year they certainly weren’t playing as ‘elite’ QB’s, yet their labels weren’t in jeopardy. Are they very talented, most definitely YES. So is Eli. I don’t understand why we have to label, quantify, and pigeon-hole these guys all the time. Eli happens to be the QB of my favorite team, I feel he is among the most talented in the NFL and whether he goes out and crushes the competition or stinks the joint up, he’s still one of the best in the business. Why don’t we just drop this elite term and just ask “Is he worthy of going to Canton?” If he is then there shouldn’t be anything else to worry about.

  23. “Because if Eli Manning, winner of a pair of Super Bowl titles and MVPs, isn’t elite, it’s hard to know how many fit the definition, historically.”

    I think that Dan Marino, winner of ZERO SuperBowl titles, was elite. Eli is not … but somehow we often forget about football being a team game when it comes to winning titles. Phil Simms is just realizing that he, like a lot of people, completely over-reacted to a guy winning a second Superbowl title and forgot that Eli is an inconsistent, streaky QB who has only ever led the league in one statistical category … interceptions (and he’s done that twice).

  24. If you don’t think Eli Manning is elite, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. But, mostly likely, if you (still) don’t think Eli Manning is elite mostly likely you:

    1) lost your job to Eli
    2) were replaced by Eli as the greatest QB of the franchise you played for
    3) root for a stat god QB who chokes magnificently in the playoffs
    4) root for a stat god QB who Eli took to the woodshed in the playoffs in your own backyard.
    5) you’re a Chargers fan still wailing about the past rather than taking AJ Smith to the woodshed

    The rest of us are babsically intelligent well-adjusted members of society.

  25. But he’s better than you were, Phil, so that’s all that matters in a market that has only produced 3 franchise QBs in 50 years between two teams (Sanchez obviously doesn’t look like he’ll be joining that club).

  26. I think the term Elite is overused …to me it means the best of the best, and it would be hard not to put Eli in that category….then again “the greatest player of all time, this week”

  27. Phil Simms. He’s always making stupid comments like this. He’s got to be the worst analyst in football. Shame, because Nantz is a good play by play caller, that is, when Phil isn’t constantly talking. I was hoping that somehow Phil wasn’t allowed back in the country after calling the London game.

    I wonder if Phil considers himself elite? I’ll bet he does, even though he’s got pretty much the same resume as Eli.

  28. Manning is as elite as some other Super Bowl winning QB’s… like Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer. Nobody should compare a guy like him to Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rogers, Philip River or other QB’s that are truely elite ove rthe years. Sure, Palmer and Rivers haven’t had the success Eli has, but let’s be real… no team outside of New York has the consistent talent that Eli has enjoyed year after year. If switched Philip River and Eli Manning to opposite teams, Rivers would have at least 3 Super Bowls under his belt right now and would be without question a hall of famer.

  29. “Because when I hear the word elite, I’m thinking about guys that can make unbelievable plays on the field by themselves. There are very few quarterbacks in that category.”

    Eli has so many come from behind wins, and scores in the 2 min before the half..I think it gets overlooked… So while Brady, Rodgers, Peyton, are throwing picks to end games they are trailing. Eli has been winning these games to the point it’s routine.. Everyone expects him to come back and win, but forget how difficult it is to do. Eli is in a class by himself when the game is on the line and also the last 2 minutes of a half.. He is a flat out beast.

  30. Elite QBs rarely have “slumps” – Eli’s had years of “meh”. Then stretches of Elite play.
    He had a monster season last year – then flubs up again for a period of time…

    Compare that inconsistency to Brees/Rodgers;
    Brees may look human for a game or 2 a season – other than that he’s an Unstoppable Stat Monster.

    Rodgers “struggled” early this year – a little inaccurate/A few turnovers/dropped passes – yet he still had several Touchdowns and a Good Passer Rating – oh by the way – he was up against Seattle/San Fran/Chicago ‘s defenses to start the season.

  31. Eli has to be the most maddening person i ever been a supporter of..just when hes on the cusp of being considered regular season greatness (playoff record needs not be debated) he finds someway to bring back the debate back in everyones mind. its been like that his whole career very inconsistant except last year.
    eli is elite he just does it differently than rodgers, brees, and esp peyton.

    2 rings 2 sb mvps.. im sure when everyone sits back and really thinks about it to themselves theyd take eli over 23-25 other qbs

  32. lolo376 says:
    Nov 14, 2012 12:59 PM
    Eli is good but not great! I’ve always said that the defense won the Giants those Super Bowls not Eli!

    u must not be a giants fan clearly because youd know our defense was by the bottom all the way up until the playoffs..eli personally got us there and personally won us that year.

  33. I can’t believe Phil Simms is the no. 1 color analyst for CBS! He trips over his tongue on a quarterly basis never mind a weekly basis. Who cares what he has to say!!

  34. Eli is not Elite????? who’s Elite, Brees, Rodgers, Brady????? Let’s see, Brees went to San Fran last yr and got beat by Alex Smith in the Playoffs. San Fran then went on to say they Preferred to play Eli instead of Rodgers, So Eli went to GreenBay and beat Rodgers, then went to Frisco and beat them, then after saying he’s as good as Brady, goes out and beats Brady in the SB rematch of the ages. I dnt kno wat else Eli needs to do to be Elite, but Eli is Elite in my eyes as only 5 QB’s in NFL history won 2 SB MVP’s, and Peyton, Brees, and Rodgers are not in that class.

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