It can’t be personality-based. Eli’s privileged and pedigreed; Romo’s an undrafted underdog. Eli petulantly threatened to sit out the season if the San Diego Chargers drafted him No. 1 overall in 2004; Romo got a $10,000 signing bonus out of Eastern Illinois and was glad to get it. Eli controversially supplanted future HOF quarterback Kurt Warner his rookie season; Romo spent three years fighting for a roster spot. Eli was born to it, winning the genetic lottery; Romo beat the odds, coming from nowhere.
What exactly do the TV geniuses love about Eli Manning? It’s that he’s clutch, right? Is it his career 77.0 passer rating in December, when the games really count? (Romo’s is 89.3.) Is it his 100.3 career passer rating in four January starts? That sounds clutch. (Romo’s is 106.5 in three January starts.)
Nope. Eli gets a pass because of the 17 points he scratched together in Super Bowl XLII. The Giants rode a red-hot four-man pass rush to a ring, holding the most prolific scoring offense in the history of the league to just 14 points. Eli won the MVP, of course. Trent Dilfer is still seething.
Truth is, Eli has two rings, and two Superbowl MVP trophies, but he didn’t have to score more than 18 points to win either of them. Curiously enough, in Eli’s 11 playoff starts, the Giants have lost every game in which the opponent scored just 21 points or more.
That’s a quarterback who puts his team on his back when it counts, and deserves a pass at 0-5 with 12 picks? Slavish expert devotion aside, it’s hard not to feel for the guy this year. He’s trying is guts out every down, but without the elite pass rush flustering opponents, without the reliable running attack to take the pressure off the passing game, and without the big fellas up front to create a comfortable pocket, Eli just isn’t good enough to make a difference.
Listening to the TV experts on Monday as they crushed Romo and coddled Eli, it’s clearer than ever that for years they’ve held Romo to a ridiculously higher standard than Eli.
Now that we’ve all seen what happens when Eli tries to carry a bad team, I guess maybe they’re right to…