Throughout the annals of NFL history, there has never been a quarterback to grace the gridiron as unpredictable as Eli Manning. We have never seen a signal caller show such flashes of brilliance and be equally as perplexing from game-to-game or season-to-season.
And to make matters worse, Manning is stoical in nature, making it even harder to get a read on exactly what’s going on in his mind.
If we look back at his career from a macro perspective, there are numerous examples of his sheer unpredictability.
Take for instance the 2007 season in which Manning was the picture of mediocrity, completing just 56.1 percent of his passes and throwing 23 touchdowns and a league-leading 20 interceptions. However, off the strength of a strong rushing attack and a tenacious defensive line, the Giants made the playoffs with a 10-6 record.
It was in the playoffs that Manning seemingly flipped a switch, displaying the type of poise and composure that was absent for most of the regular season. He led two fourth-quarter comebacks and three game-winning drives during New York’s four-game march to a Super Bowl Championship – a run that was capped with an improbable victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots.
Based on his play in the regular season that year, who could have seen those types of playoff performances coming?
The answer is no one.
Manning added another Super Bowl championship to his resume in 2011, once again defeating the New England Patriots. That season he managed to improve his regular season and playoff numbers across the board from those of his first championship campaign.
But in 2013, just two years later, he had the worst season of his career, throwing 18 touchdowns and a league-leading 27 interceptions. In fact, it was the third time he led the league in interceptions (he threw 25 in 2010).
The inexcusable showing from Manning and the retirement of offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride forced the Giants to revamp the offense for the 2014 season – and Ben McAdoo stepped in to do just that.
In McAdoo’s scheme, the constant downfield attacks that were prevalent under Gilbride were replaced in favor of short, rhythmic passes. As a result, Manning completed a career-high 63.1 percent of his pass attempts, racked up 30 touchdowns and limited his interceptions to 14. Oh, and the emergence of rookie Odell Beckham Jr. helped as well.
So with another year in McAdoo’s system, another year to build chemistry with Beckham and the return of Victor Cruz from a knee injury, it would appear that Manning is poised to have another great season in 2015, right?
Based on the aforementioned examples, it’s practically impossible to tell. For all we know, he could set the single-season record for turnovers. Or he could lead the team on another unexpected run to a Super Bowl title. Those wild swings of highs and lows make Manning intriguing to watch for neutral observers and ensures that Giants fans always remain on edge.
What do expect from Manning in 2015? And where would you rank him among starting quarterbacks? Let us know in the comment section.
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