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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Evan Heffron: What Makes a Quarterback Great?

I cant sleep. Football is on my mind. I guess its just that time of year. I have heard a lot of talk about this subject on ESPN radio, most notably by Colin Cowherd. He made some valid points about how sports fans in general use championships as the end all stat of how great a quarterback actually is. I think that winning a championship is a variable in all this but ultimately does not determine the superiority of one quarterback over another. Disagree? So you would take Brad Johnson over Dan Marino? Or Trent Dilfer over Dan Fauts? This has been a hot topic of debate in my dormitory, partially because I am surrounded by New York Giants fans in my hallway. Their lord and savior is the one and only Eli Manning. I myself do not give him enough respect for the scrutiny he is under being the younger brother of Peyton and son of Archie, but that is no argument when trying to claim the Eli Manning is a Superior Quarterback to Donovan McNabb.


Yes, there are a large number of New York fans that still, after watching the events of the divisional playoff game in East Rutherford unfold last Sunday, claim the Eli is better than Donovan because he has "won the big one".

I must say, I was impressed by Eli's circus act in the fourth quarter of the Superbowl. His ring shines brightly in the face of Donovan (for now) but i still feel as if the Superbowl victory does not make Eli better than Donovan. So with that said, I will attempt to analyze this controversy we have on our hands.

Eli posses a better play action fake in my mind, and softer touch. With out a huge target at receiver he appears he is helpless, as he did in the two latter meetings with the Philadelphia Eagles this season. With time in the pocket he can pick apart opposing secondaries, as can most NFL first-stringers. Its a big problem if you're a quarterback who calls the Giants Stadium home and doesn't have the arm strength to throw an out rout in the wind.

Donovan , on the other hand possesses superior arm strength, and better escape ability. He single handedly took a team with Todd Pinkston as it number one receiver to 3 straight NFC championship games. McNabb also is an absolute gamer. Throwing 4 td's on a shattered fibula is no easy task and goes a long way into showing the grit and competitiveness he brings to the field. Maybe the most telling of all stats, IN DONOVAN'S LAST 5 HEALTHY PLAYOFF RUNS , THE EAGLES HAVE ADVANCED TO 5 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS. That shows how important he is to this team and at the same time what kind of weight is put on his shoulders. You cant downplay that stat at all. I really believe that Jason Campell, David Garrard, or a handful of other signal callers have a shot at winning a championship with an All-World D-Line, Brandon Jacobs, and Plaxico Burress (minus the bullet in his leg) on their respective teams. Hell, Give Eli in his second season in the league Duce Staley, Todd Pinkston, Na Brown and Chad Lewis as his primary weapons and see if he puts up the numbers and wins McNabb did. Eli is a top ten quarterback in my mind but i think its unfair to pin the championship on Eli's chest and proclaim him a superior QB to Donovan.

Eli-career record as starting QB - 42-30 ( .583)

Donovan- 83-45-1( .648)

Your beloved playoffs records

Eli - 4-3 (.571)

Donovan- 9-5 (.643)

QB rating (career)


Donovan- 85.9

TDs per INT ratio


Donovan- 2.16

Ill leave you with this comparison by ESPN's Colin Cowherd "Clint Eastwood never won a Grammy for acting. But Nicholas Cage did. So Eastwood is the inferior actor?" *

~stats courtesy Owen Stout

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