Super Bowl wins matter. Nobody can dispute that. Raising a Lombardi Trophy earns the players that are fortunate enough to experience it a lifetime trump card in a sense, and often that principle is multiplied exponentially for quarterbacks.
You know how it goes. Super Bowl rings on a quarterback are impossible for people to ignore and as a result people generally hoist them up above the rest. Of course, quarterbacks that win Super Bowls are generally the best, but there is important context to consider for all things.
Quarterbacks like Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson will always carry the Super Bowl shine, but the most unique case study of it is undoubtedly the recently retired Eli Manning. Unfortunately, we have yet another instance of a group seeing nothing but the glow-up.
ESPN named Eli Manning as the NFC East All-Decade Team QB for the last decade
Back in late December, there was a ton of decade talk considering we were entering a new one. The last decade was not the most fun if you were a Dallas Cowboys fan, but the team did win three division titles and set themselves up for what we all believe/hope will be a promising run of 10 years. But about these last 10, we have some matters to tend to.
ESPN put together their All-Decade Team for the past decade and, well, they made a very incorrect particular selection.
- QB: Eli Manning
- RB: LeSean McCoy
- RB: Ezekiel Elliott
- WR: Odell Beckham Jr.
- WR: Dez Bryant
- T: Tyron Smith
- G: Brandon Brooks
- C: Travis Frederick
- G: Zack Martin
- T: Jason Peters
- TE: Jason Witten
- DE: DeMarcus Lawrence
- DT: Fletcher Cox
- DT: Justin Tuck
- DE: Jason Pierre-Paul
- LB: Sean Lee
- LB: DeMarcus Ware
- LB: Ryan Kerrigan
- CB: DeAngelo Hall
- CB: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
- FS: Malcolm Jenkins
- SS: Landon Collins
- KR/PR: Darren Sproles
- K: Dan Bailey
- P: Tress Way
There are... a number of things to discuss here. It is hard to move past the first one, though. How on earth could a group of people that watched the last decade of NFC East football think that Eli Manning was the best quarterback in it?
Obviously Eli Manning’s New York Giants team won the Super Bowl in 2011, but the idea that he was the best quarterback for the decade simply as a result of that is ridiculous. It is also true that Manning “played” the whole decade, he was benched last season for Daniel Jones by the way, hardly ends any sort of debate with him as the winner.
Eli Manning was at best the fourth-best NFC East quarterback over the last decade
Pick the peak of Eli Manning’s last decade. It is in no way higher than the peaks experienced by Tony Romo, Dak Prescott, or Carson Wentz. All three of them would be better choices as the division quarterback of the last decade.
In thinking about it I also added Kirk Cousins’ time in Washington to the mix and convinced myself that I’d even personally take that peak over any that Eli experienced in the same stretch of time. Seriously, in what universe is Eli Manning the best choice here?
There will obviously be a crowd of people that champion the Super Bowl that Manning won in this stretch of time (Carson Wentz technically “won” one, too) but if we’re going to diminish our learning potential and look strictly at wins should it not be said that Eli finished with a below .500 record six times counting the four games he played last year? His team only won double-digit games once. ONCE!
Overall this exercise proves how much opportunity was wasted by the Cowboys
For what it’s worth, the non-quarterback opinions in this all-division team for the last decade are far less flawed and the Dallas Cowboys have 10 total players on the list. Double digits. That’s depressing.
There is no denying that the Cowboys boasted some serious talent over the last decade and unfortunately they have seen a lot of it end. DeMarcus Ware was released and got his ring before he retired. Dez Bryant and Dan Bailey were both moved on from. Tony Romo’s career came to an end. Jason Witten retired (then other stuff happened!) as did Travis Frederick. All of these players played significant roles on teams that should have done more, but alas, all we have to show for the last 10 years of football are three division titles and two playoff wins. Hopefully the next decade brings more.
Debating anything is just that, debate. ESPN put together a really interesting list with an incredibly-flawed choice at the most important position. Do you agree with their QB selection, and what about the rest of the list?