Simms stands by Eli comment, sets high bar for “elite”

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Former Giants quarterback Phil Simms knew before the words were all the way out of his mouth he stirred something up.

By saying Giants quarterback Eli Manning was “not one of the elites,” he opened up a can of worms about the two-time Super Bowl MVP.

To his credit, he stood by his comments during an interview on WFAN.

I still said it,” Simms told the Boomer & Carton morning show. “You know, when I got done I could’ve said ‘You know, let’s redo that,’ because at that time we were taping a little segment. But I do stand by how I meant it.”

Simms said he didn’t think it was a shot at Manning, and the difference between a great quarterback and “elite” was “splitting hairs.”

“You know, it makes headlines, but we’re splitting hairs here,” Simms said. “I get it asked all the time, ‘Is so-and-so elite?’ And I go ‘Oh my gosh, please, somebody stick a needle in my eye.’ I’m just tired of answering it and hearing it.

“So I said it. Sorry it’s causing a little firestorm, but that’s the context I said it in.”

Of course, Simms apparently has incredibly high standards for elite, as he said a group of Hall of Famers didn’t meet his criteria.

“‘Elite,’ it’s a new word in the football vocabulary. It really is,” Simms said. “It’s this new thing. I don’t remember hearing it 25-30 years ago. With the way it’s talked about now, Dan Marino was not elite, Warren Moon was never elite, Dan Fouts was not elite. Even though they went to the Hall of Fame, they’re not elite.

“So my thing was, when I think of ‘elite’ I think of great accomplishments with unusual, very good, incredible skills on the field. I didn’t even think about who it would be when I was saying it. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and I think Aaron Rodgers kind of fits in that mode. And the rest we’ll see about.”

At this point, the best thing would probably just be to retire the “elite quarterback” argument, because if Marino and Moon and Fouts don’t qualify, I’m not sure why we’re still keeping track.

54 responses to “Simms stands by Eli comment, sets high bar for “elite”

  1. eli is so damn overrated, his defence was outstanding in those SB’s, they shut down one of the greatest offences in nfl history. but people still want him in the H.O.F

  2. Just professional jealousy. Simms wants to be remembered as the Giants’ quarterback, and Eli has left him in the dust with his clutch fourth quarter play, two Super Bowl wins and two SB MVP’s.

  3. I agree 3 elites right now – Peyton, Brady, Rodgers.

    Drew Brees, Eli Manning just throw too many INTs for my taste – they both are on pace for about 20 again this year, thats too many especially with the offensive lines they have. How many times has Eli even been sacked this season?

    Rodgers OLine is average on a good day and he’s missing his #1 receiver and can’t throw to his stone hands tight end and he still wins games and puts up numbers.

  4. Dan Marino wasn’t elite. Phil my friend, you just dropped 50 IQ points and lost a stripe with me. You now rank below Jarrod Bunch and Ron Dayne on my favorite Giants list. Way down there..

  5. Simms is right. I’m a huge Giants fan and yes, Eli has won 2 Super Bowls, however, he is not a consistently great QB. To be “elite”, it has to be performance based game to game, week by week.

    Eli is far too streaky to be called elite. He as made me a happy Giants fan the past five years though. And for that, I’m grateful.

  6. Simms is right. Even though Marino is a top 5 all time QB on anyones list, he would be “elite” by todays standards. Anytime someone brings up this “elite QB” debate the first thing they talk about is Super Bowl rings. So, if Marino, doesn’t have a SB win on his resume then he can’t be elite, right?

    I’m sick of it too.

  7. Fouts was before my time and you could make a case that Moon stats were because of the system. However to say Marino wasn’t elite is beyond ridiculous.

    However Eli isn’t elite — when you put up nearly no points against some of the worst defenses in Super Bowl history why are you elite because the defense won the game for you? Is Brad Johnson an elite QB because the Bucs defense scored 21 points on the Raiders? Think of that, the Bucs defense scored as many points in the Super Bowl as Eli did at his best. He is a clutch QB, he’s a great QB, but he is not elite.

  8. Warren Moon, Boomer Esiason, Jeff Hostetler and Ken O’Brien all played at the same time, and all had about the same QB rating. Moon played at a high level for a long time, which boosts his career numbers. He was also in the top 10 in interceptions eight times. When I look back at the history of the NFL, I wouldn’t even consider Moon for elite. He’s not in the discussion. He played at a high level, and he stayed injury free for a long time. Elite is greatest of the great, and he ain’t it.

  9. Eli’s first SB MVP was a flat-out joke; 146 passing yards of which he got 40 on a Hail Mary. It’s absurd Umenyiora, Strahan and/or Tuck didn’t win that award.

  10. Elway, Marino, Favre were elite….there are NO elite QBs in the league right now. Rodgers and Brees are the closest thing TO elite but arent quite there. Manning and Brady are both great but they are NOT elite, sorry!

  11. Why is there always controversy surrounding Eli? First, was he a franchise QB? Next, was his Super Bowl a fluke? Now, is he elite?
    He’s never missed a game and never finished with less than 8 wins as a starter. He’s a durable, clutch QB.

  12. It may make sense. I mean, yeah, elite should be a word reserved for the very best of the best. It’s one thing to be great, and it’s another to be elite. If you want to apply the word “elite” to 5 or 6 guys (roughly 20% of the starting QB’s in the NFL), then the word is losing its meaning.

    Consider it in the context of the elite of society. You don’t apply the word “elite” to 20% of the population, right?

  13. In a “what have you done for me lately” world, what I am sure there is no disputing is that Eli has not been “Elite” for a few weeks now and it feels like deja vu all over again with a Giants second half swoon.

    But of course their 2 recent SB wins were following second half swoons, so I’m not worrying just yet. I would be worried if nothing put praise were being given to this team. They thrive on “nobody believes in us” vibes better than anyone.

  14. Btw, when did Aaron Rodgers become Elite? He’s been very good for a while but i wouldn’t put him in Elite status yet. So far all i see is Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as elite in todays NFL. Rodgers, Brees, and Eli are second tier..

  15. His brother isnt elite either. When you have a poor playoff record, won one SB because of your defense, and get credited (this year) for playing great when in fact you put your team in a hole on a number of occasions…you ARENT elite. Sorry.

  16. Eli is ELIte in the clutch. Numerous last minute drives within his first couple seasons proved he had something that just couldn’t be coached. Phil is right though. To argue someone is elite is getting to be that exhausted discussion. Simply put, a player can have all the talent in the world, but if he in not on a team where he fits like a glove he may not look so elite. If you compare Eli to all of the other starting quarterbacks, he is still near the top of the list, and no organization would be disappointed with that.

  17. Giants defense was horrible last year and eli carried us the entite year. I agree he shouldny be in the same convo as peyton tom brees rodgers but hes still top 10 and has given my team two superbowls. Elite or not who cares hes cold blooded and wins when it matters most.

  18. @rc33 – I am still baffled at how he won the first SB MVP, he wasn’t even the best offensive star and it most certainly should have gone to the entire DL as they are the reason the Giants won.

    As to not calling Marino an Elite QB, I really need to hear his reasoning for that as he held virtually every single passing record there was. Was he not elite because he didn’t win a SB?

    @golonger – how can you suggest that Brees is above Peyton and Brady? Peyton, if any QB in the league right now is Elite it is him. There are concerns about how much life there is in his career but his career as it is now is up there with the best of all time. He could be benefited by winning another SB but it is not necessary. And if he isn’t elite because of the 1 SB then Marino and Favre are not elite either.

  19. aaron rogers he picks. would he pick Brett Favre? He said game by game. Brett was won of the best. won a superbowl. The guy has one of his best games when his father died, had one of the longest records of games stated qb. John Elway? Great game by game. even great in playoffs. the drive. won two superbowls. I know for a fact he would have to say Joe Montana he has been known as the best Qb ever to some people. me being a bengal fan my whole life forgot how many superbowls he won lol. what do you guys think

  20. @golonger-what criteria exactly are you using? Brady and P. Manning both have the records, stats, winning percentages necessary. They both have multiple SB appearances and obviously Brady has 3 W’s. Both have also won with subpar talent around them at times as well. Please don’t tell me that don’t pass some crazy eyeball test either. I’m so sick of that catchphrase.

  21. Eli is overrated???

    No. He’s underrated.

    Here’s a FEW of his accolades…

    Note the NFL RECORDS

    2× Pro Bowl (2008, 2011)
    2× Super Bowl champion (XLII, XLVI)
    2× Super Bowl MVP (XLII, XLVI)
    2× NFC Champion (2007, 2011)
    NFL Record most 4th quarter touchdown passes in a season (15)
    Tied NFL Record longest pass completion and touchdown (99 yards)
    Tied NFL Record most game-winning drives in a season (8)
    Most road wins in a single regular season and postseason by a starting quarterback (10)

    Eli is CLUTCH and that’s what I want in my QB.

  22. Said Simms:

    “Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and I think Aaron Rodgers kind of fits in that mode. And the rest we’ll see about.”

    So he’s not only excluding Eli…

  23. They were and are all great QB’S!
    Each one with good and bad qualities.
    Phil had his good and bad games, they all do.
    That is part of being a human.
    Phil needs to say less!!
    Win as a team and lose as a team.
    People do not see the great big strong men
    that make these QB,S what they were and are???
    On both sides of the ball!

  24. When I think of elite, The HOF ALL-STAR quarterback who played for 10 yrs. and took his team, the Browns, to the championship of his league all 10, winning 7, comes to my mind; in addition, his stats include a pick-6. Otto Graham was about team, not stats.

  25. To say that Eli isn’t “elite” is not a slap if (IF) you can reasonably define “elite”. By my definition Aaron Rodgers is NOT elite. Great QB, but not enough of a resume yet. Same with Brees. Another great QB. These guys lack historical context. If you want to say Brady and Peyton then I may listen, but just those 2. You CANNOT measure a QB in SuperBowls. You can use them to SUPPORT your argument, but they cannot BE your argument. Marino? Elite. NO discussion. He was a rocket arm when football was still smash-mouth and moving toward this air-it-out era.

    In fact QB’s should only be compared within their eras.

  26. (His brother isnt elite either. When you have a poor playoff record, won one SB because of your defense, and get credited (this year) for playing great when in fact you put your team in a hole on a number of occasions…you ARENT elite. Sorry.)
    Golonger- you make this statement after proclaiming Favre as elite? Seriously?

  27. I can see the point that he is not elite. But who is more clutch than Eli? I can’t think of anyone currently playing. Please name them if you can.

  28. I really could not care any less of this “elite” designation. I’ll take Eli with his clutch QB play and two super bowl rings, thus far, over just about anyone else.

  29. To a lot of people Dan Marino is the greatest qb to ever play. Even the people that dont like him would put him top 5. I’ve always respected simms off the field but saying Dan Marino wasn’t elite is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard a football player say. That includes Jet players.

  30. Elite is throw around so much today, one week a QB is elite the next he is not. If a quarterback can consistently win with a mediocre team then give him the label. If he inconsistent on good teams then he is not. Eli is closer to Dilfer than he is to his older brother.

  31. Majority of Giants fans don’t care about the “Elite” label. We just want people to acknowledge that he’s a good QB who can make plays when the game is on the line.

    It’s comments like “Eli is the luckiest retard in history”, and “It’s easy when you have a great defense and run game” that get under our skin.

    (FYI, that “retard” has a IQ in the 130s, and In 2011, the Giants had a bottom half defense, and the league’s WORST run game. Without Eli, they would’ve finished 6-10, rather than 9-7)

  32. Otto Graham is the most underrated elite qb of all time. 10 NFL Championships will never be matched. There are only 2 elite qb’s in the league right now. (Brady & P. Manning). But Eli may very well be the most clutch playoff qb in the NFL. In the playoffs I’m willing to take him over anyone because he just doesn’t seem to ever get rattled.

  33. Eli is one of the most clutch QB’s in the game, however that does not make him elite. The word “elite” gets thrown around too much to describe players. In the NFL today, the only QB’s I’d say are elite are Brady, Manning, and Rodgers. Three QB’s that no matter who you put around them or what system they are in, they are going to put up great numbers and win games. With that said, I’d trade Cutler in a heartbeat for Eli.

  34. locutus says:
    Nov 14, 2012 5:20 PM
    I really could not care any less of this “elite” designation. I’ll take Eli with his clutch QB play and two super bowl rings, thus far, over just about anyone else.

    Till that D breaks down… a NON ELITE cannot carry an IMPERFECT team..

  35. To me, Elite is somone you enjoy watching as a real football fan. I know i truly enjoyed watching Marino and Fout play QB in the NFL. it takes more than a great QB to win a SB. peyton went to the playoffs almost every year but only won one SB. who knows if the chargers Marlon Mcree hadnt thrown away the game against the Pats that same year, they more than likely would have killed manning with the history they had against him and the team they had at the time.
    as far Eli, he has the heart of a champion. never bet against him.

  36. Marino was an elite passer. As a QB, he was drafted by a team that just played in the Super Bowl, so you can’t claim he didn’t have talent around him. And he had one of the great coaches of all time. How many championships? None. That’s why he’s not elite. Jim Kelly isn’t elite either.

  37. rockthered1286 says: Nov 14, 2012 4:49 PM

    Wait a SB win makes you elite?! Someone call Bradshaw and Dilfer and tell them they’re not as mediocre as the entire nation says!
    Jim Plunkett won two. Nobody is calling him elite.

  38. Seems to me Phil is an Elite moron.

    Sounds more like he’s jealous of players like Marino, Fouts and Eli.

    Phil’s lifetime stats are FAR from any of these three players. He can’t hold a candle to either of the Dan’s. Hell, he can’t even top Eli’s stats atm. Plus, Eli is durable. Hasn’t missed a game in 7 1/2 years now. Phil only had three complete seasons the entire time he played.

    Besides, I’m still wondering what he ever did that makes HIM a good judge of talented QB’s? Lord knows he’s a mid range announcer at best.

  39. If you were to just read the words it looks like Simms took a shot at Marino, Moon, but even then he says “by todays standards”.. If you heard it on the radio, he was saying it in a sarcastic tone.. He was just making the argument that by todays standards since those guys didn’t win a Superbowl they would not be considered elite etc…

    In terms of Eli, I will say it again.. I think all those 4th QB come backs are great accomplishments and puts him in that elite category. Eli does it so much everyone expects it, and people forget about it because it so routine now. I think you will see teams run up the score on the Giants to just to avoid situations like that. Eli is the best in the business if your trailing by 4 with 2 minutes to go in the game. I will take Eli over everyone else in the 4qtr.

  40. whoever says marino, peyton and brady arnt elite are just morons..

    im a giants fan and yes i was on the eli is elite bandwagon last year all year long and i even mentioned in another post eli is..but havin thought about it..hes just way to inconsistant…

    had a monster year last year and won 2 sbs..eli is a great QB..not elite IMO thats a big difference

  41. Ya, Eli looks like his favorite toy was taken from him, except in every single big moment of post season games in his career, when he shows what he’s made of.

    Some of you guys just look for a small point to make to hate on Eli. Proves to me that you’re just still upset, and in denial, that he won 2 rings, while your franchise continues to choke.

    Go buy the 07 or 12 Superbowl DVDs and tell me the defenses won the game. Get real.

    The pass to Tyree was not a hail Mary. He knew who his target was. The pass against the Packers at the end of the first half last year, that was a hail Mary. Get your facts straight, while I get you some ketchup for that WAAAAAAAAAAmburger you’re munching on.

  42. golonger says:Nov 14, 2012 4:35 PM

    Elway, Marino, Favre were elite….there are NO elite QBs in the league right now. Rodgers and Brees are the closest thing TO elite but arent quite there. Manning and Brady are both great but they are NOT elite, sorry
    Wait a minute ….. Tom Brady has been to FIVE Super Bowls in ten years, winning THREE of those, had two of the greatest offensive seasons ANY quarterback has EVER seen, been a Super Bowl MVP twice, a Pro-Bowler SEVEN times, and the Comeback Player of the Year.

    He absolutely makes Favre, Elway, and Marino look like complete BUSTS.

    I have no idea what your criteriea for an “elite” quarterback is, I’d LOVE for you to explain it to us all here, but dude, if Tom Brady isn’t an all-time “elite” quarterback, then you are an “elite” moron.

  43. Yes, Eli is elite. He steps up in huge ways when it counts and finds ways to lead his team to victories, championships, etc… In the NFC East, however, even after just eleven games and a 5-6 record, Robert Griffin III has emerged as THE ELITE QB in the NFC East. He not only possesses every intangible physical ability scouts drool over but he’s an unprecedented leader (elected team Captain in his rookie year–pretty much unheard of–) and quite simply over the course of the game he does things–executes plays that leave fans both bewildered, amazed, in awe, and most importantly as a LONG suffering Skins fan, absolutely without a shadow of a doubt unquestionably optimistic for the Skins future. RGIII should already be considered elite by ANYONE’S standard. Now the Skins just have to surround him with a team that can help him thrive under his incomparable QB-play. Please somebody list me a player who truly compares to Robert Griffin III. No Vick-athlete calls or Cunningham all-purpose player comparisons… Vick, c’mon man. And Cunningham is like a poor man’s Griffin which speaks volumes as R.C. was a really outstanding, great player. RGIII is so superlatively unique and special that he makes comparisons to an all-time great pro like Cunningham seem silly when you put their skill sets next to each other. R.C. was the man for a time while RGIII has the potential to be one of the Men of All-Time. Never have I seen anyone change the dynamic of football like I do when RGIII when is on the field for the Skins… Here’s to hoping he can stay healthy and inspire fans and young players for many many many more years to come. So, in closing, ELIte, yes but THE TOP NFC EAST ELITE goes to RGIIIlite.

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