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Just The Sports: Not So Fast, Eli

Just The Sports

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not So Fast, Eli

For once, the majority of New York sports radio hosts were correct. After Jeremy Shockey was injured and the New York Giants went on to win the Super Bowl, the prevalent thinking was that without Shockey, quarterback Eli Manning was finally able to grow as a quarterback and leader without having to worry about Shockey heaping abuse on him at every turn and constantly demanding the ball. Without the pressure of having to appease Shockey, Manning was going to finally take his rightful place among the elite quarterbacks. There is certainly evidence to suggest that Manning's level of play has improved without Shockey on the field, but as far as Manning becoming one of the truly elite quarterbacks in the NFL, that day will never come.

Manning had to endure fifty-two games with Shockey and during those fifty-two games, he was atrocious. He only completed 54.5% of his passes for 6.3 yards per pass attempt, numbers that would warrant any regularly named or late draft round quarterback to be benched in favor of someone who can actually move his team's offense consistently. In the thirty-three games Manning did not have to throw to Shockey, he improved in a statistically significant way, increasing his completion percentage to 59.8% and his yards per pass attempt to 7.1.

Even with the increase in his statistics, Manning is still in the bottom half of the league when it comes to accuracy. Despite all the accolades he receives, Manning has never been in the top half of the league in completion percentage and never will be. The NFL has become a league that values accuracy for its quarterbacks with the average completion percentage increasing yearly; right now, it is around 63-64%. Manning lags far behind that and has never had a full season with a completion percentage above 60.3%. For an explanation on why Eli Manning gets treated and paid like he is one of the game's best quarterbacks, a trip to intro to psychology is necessary.

Manning is no doubt one of sports' biggest beneficiaries of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is an irrational tendency to search for, interpret, or remember information in a way that confirms preconceptions while avoiding information that contradicts the beliefs. Due to his Manning surname and the fact that Peyton, the best quarterback to ever play the game, is his brother, uneducated football enthusiasts naturally assumed that Manning would play up to Peyton's level. Therefore, they only focus on his game-winning drives and his Super Bowl MVP (extremely undeserved, by the way) and ignore his terrible passing games and his 1.4:1 TD-to-INT ratio. No matter how much evidence appears to undermine the conclusion of Manning being a good quarterback, we all must endure several more years of undeserved praise for Manning.



  • David, you may be a mensa, but you are a blooming idiot.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:37 AM  

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