Patience Has Paid Off with Eli Manning

Jim Mancari , Contributor

When the Giants traded up to get Eli Manning with the No. 1 overall pick in 2004, New York was abuzz that Peyton Manning’s younger brother would be taking snaps for Big Blue.

Even if Eli never shaped up to be as good as Peyton, he was still a Manning and has a bright future ahead of him.

Eli started his career backing up Kurt Warner, who led the Giants to a 5-4 record in 2004. However, the organization felt it was the right time for Manning to take over.

Manning proceeded to lose six straight starts that season, and of course the doubters were in full force.

However, fast forward eight years later, and Manning is now the all-time franchise leader in touchdown passes at 200 after moving ahead of Giants’ great Phil Simms.

Give Manning another season, and he’ll likely pass Simms in total passing yardage.

Seriously, after that first season, who really thought Manning would someday pass Simms in any statistical category, except maybe interceptions.

A typical Eli look would be him shrugging his shoulders in disgust after throwing an interception. This look became all too familiar that first season, as Manning threw nine interceptions in seven games.

The Giants made a long-term investment when they traded for the right to draft Manning. Of course, this town is all about instant gratification, so when Manning struggled his first season, it seemed he would never adapt to New York.

But patience has obviously paid off with Eli. He led the Giants on improbable Super Bowl runs in 2007 and 2011, and he’s been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league.

Regardless of what Simms says about Eli not being “elite,” Manning is a top-five quarterback in the NFL. He put Aaron Rodgers to shame last night in the Giants’ 38-10 victory over the Packers.

Simms is probably just jealous that the name “Eli Manning” will now be synonymous with the phrase “Giants quarterback.” For years, Simms was considered the best Giants’ quarterback ever, but now he’ll have to move over for Eli.

Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.