Eli Manning vs. Ben Roethlisberger: The Case For Eli

The following is Ed Valentine's take on who he would rather have as his QB - Ben Roethlisberger or Eli Manning. Ed writes the popular Giants blog Big Blue View. My case for Big Ben can be found here. Check it out. -Blitz-

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The careers of Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger are forever intertwined. Both first-round picks in 2004. Both quarterbacks of proud, original NFL franchises. Both Super Bowl winners already. We will always wonder how things would have worked out if the Giants had drafted Ben with their pick at No. 4 in 2004 instead of engineering the trade for Eli -- not that we are complaining, of course. So, it is always fun to compare them.

With the Giants and Steelers meeting this week, that is what Michael Bean of  Behind the Steel Curtain and I have decided to do. I will, of course, make the case for why I would rather have Eli. Michael will make the case from the Pittsburgh side for why Ben is better. His article will appear on my Giants site, Big Blue View. So, let's have at it.]

Why I would rather have Eli

Let me start by saying this -- Ben Roethlisberger is a tremendous quarterback, probably one of the five best in the league. Had the Giants drafted him in 2004 I have no doubt Giants fans would be absolutely thrilled to have Big Ben as our quarterback.

Let me also say this. I also understand that, in standing up for Eli here, I have the more difficult argument to make. Purely looking at the statistics, Roethlisberger's numbers dwarf Manning's.

  • Completion percentage: Advantage Roethlisberger, 63.2% to 55.4%.
  • Quarterback rating: Advantage Roethlisberger, 93.0 to 74.9.
  • Interceptions: Eli has 68 to Ben's 57, although Eli has about 400 more attempts.
  • Touchdowns: Advantage Roethlisberger, 93-85.

Even this season, when Eli is statistically having his best season (61.8% completions, 89.1 rating) Roethlisberger's numbers are slightly better (63.2% completions, 98.1 rating).

So, how on earth can I make the argument that I would choose Eli over Roethlisberger?

If you have watched Manning play, as I have, since the beginning of the 2007 playoffs, you know how I can make that choice.

As good as Roethlisberger is, I believe he is as good as he is ever going to get. Aside from his miserable, injury-plagued 2006 season his numbers have been pretty consistent throughout his career. He's damn good, but he isn't going to get better.

There is one other thingworking against Roethlisberger. That would be the number of hits Roethlisberger takes behind that Pittsburgh line. He has been sacked 65 more times in his career than Eli, and hit countless more. Whether that is his fault or the line's, or a combination of both I don't know. Eventually, though, that has to take a toll.

Eli, I believe, is just beginning to scratch the surface of the ability that he possesses. In last year's playoffs he completed 60.5 percent of his passes, had six touchdown passes, just one interception, outplayed Jeff Garcia, Tony Romo, Brett Favre and Tom Brady. He has picked up from there this season, playing the best football of his career.

It has taken Manning longer to reach the stardom that many predicted for him, but he has. And when you see the difference in him from the uncertain, often erratic quarterback he still was toward the end of last season to the confident leader and much more accurate passer he is today he makes you believe his best is yet to become.

I can't wait to see what else he has in store for Giants fans as his career continues to unfold. That is why I will take Eli.

The opinions shared here are not those of the editorial staff of Behind the Steel Curtain or SB Nation. These posts are not approved in any way by the editorial staff of this web site.