The NFL season is upon us, and with its commencement comes the annual barrage of pundit’s thoughts and predictions. Many of these predictions revolve around the best players in the league, and most importantly in a quarterback driven league the best signal caller. When these conversations come up one player seems to draw the most debate, the enigma that is Eli Manning.
The upper echelon is generally well established with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers somewhere near the top (Andrew Luck is beginning to crack this tier). Then we move onto the next tier which is generally composed of Tony Romo, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Stafford, Joe Flacco, etc. Eli depending on the conversation slides up and down these rankings seemingly on a whim.
To come to some sort of conclusion on Eli I decided to compare him against some his peers (removing the younger generation of quarterbacks). Instead of using generic accumulation statistics, which can be inflated or deflated based on the team and offensive system, like yards and touchdowns I chose to focus on comparing efficiency statistics. I compared Touchdown Percentage to Interception percentage to give an idea of a quarterbacks risk vs reward. I also compared Completion Percentage to Yards Per Completion to give an idea of a quarterbacks “bang for their buck.”
I used the two comparisons to create the following visuals. As you can see Eli does not stack up well in either efficiency rating compared to his peers, while Aaron Rodgers on the other hand makes a strong case for the top ranking among quarterbacks. A full table of statistics can be found at the bottom of the page.
The graph above shows a quarterbacks risk vs reward by comparing Interception Percentage (INT%, Percent of passes resulting in interceptions) to Touchdown Percentage (TD%, Percent of passes resulting in touchdowns). The further right on the graph a quarterback is the more often they throw interceptions and thus the higher their risk. While the higher on the graph a quarterback is the more often they throw touchdown passes thus the higher their return.
Eli Manning falls on the bottom right of the graph indicating he throws a higher percentage of interceptions compared to touchdowns and has a very low return on his risk. Aaron Rodgers on the other handle falls on the top left of the graph indicating he throws a lot of touchdowns compared to inceptions and therefore has a low risk high return style of play.
The graph above shows a quarterbacks passing efficiency by comparing their Completion Percentage (CMPP) to their Yards Per Completion (YPC). Drew Brees falls on the bottom right of the graph indicating he completes a lot of his passes but for a low Yards Per Completion. This is a result of his short quick passing style of offense. Aaron Rodgers on the other hand is at the top right of the graph indicating he completes a lot of his passes for a lot of yardage. This further enhances his case for best quarterback in the league currently.
Eli Manning again falls short of his peers in this comparison. While he does have a solid 12 yards per completion his 59% completion rate is 3 percentage points lower than his closest peer. This indicates he does throw the ball down the field but at the cost of completing his passes.
The full table of sortable and searchable statistics can be found below.