By Patrick Imig
Cold Hard Football Facts Buffalo wing elitist snob.

It's a question that has tormented Planet Pigskin for hours upon hours: 

Holy mackerel! The Giants defeated the Patriots by four points. Eli Manning is elite! He led the Giants on their game winning drive. He completed 20/39 passes for 250 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Giants are 6-2. Eli is now elite! Sound the alarms. Bang your pots and pans. Put Dick Clark in Times Square and watch as the confetti streams through the air! Cue up Kool and the Gang and Celebrate!

Do you know what this means? This means Elisha Manning has acquired a serious pundit label which will be taken away from him when he throws three interceptions in a pivotal game (they're all pivotal at this point). The elite lable will be replaced with a negative label. Eli joining the 'elite' is similar to the Philadelphia Eagles acquiring the Dream Team label in August. It has nothing to do with Manning and the Giants playing or winning a game. 

Sadly, the pundits are latching on to labels and football class warfare instead of stating the facts. It is true that Eli Manning is having the best statistical season of his career. Not only is his 98.8 passer rating a career high, Manning is on pace for 30 touchdowns and 12 interceptions (Manning set a career high with 31 touchdowns last year). It's also true that there are still 8 more games. Let's give it a few more months and see what happens. The next four games for the Giants: at the 49ers, home against the Eagles, at the Saints, home against the Packers. 

The word elite should involve the overall body of work, not gain momentum and steam because of one win over the Patriots. If Manning had led the Giants to a 4th quarter comeback victory in Week 9 against the Cardinals or Titans rather than "Tom Brady", this strain of this elite influenza wouldn't be as severe. Let's not forget Manning threw 25 interceptions last season, worst in the league. Do elite quarterbacks do that? This is something that only a pundit who declares Eli elite can answer. For whatever reason, the elite status has to be decided right now for so many.

The Eli-Elite onslaught isn't just relegated to the online world, either. The folks on television all got the memo to declare their verdict. See the following:

Tim Hasselbeck, ESPN NFL Live: "In terms of what this guy does for this offense, I don't know if there's a quarterback playing right now that does more." (There is. His name is Aaron Rodgers.)

Woody Paige, Around the Horn: "I think when we talk about the Manning brothers that you now have to say that with Peyton injured that Eli has stepped up and carried the family mantle."

Tony Kornheiser, PTI: "You can't spell elite without Eli and you can spell Brady without Eli or elite at the moment!"

Merril Hoge, ESPN: "Put the team on the back. I'll carry them!"

Steve Mariucci, NFL Network: “We've seen Tom Brady carry that team on his back … Eli now is carrying this team on his back!” 

Bart Hubbuch, NY Post: "Manning is entirely capable of carrying an injury-riddled team on his back."

Michael Irvin, NFL Network: “He is an elite quarterback in this league!”


Never one to shy away from a bold statement which may or may not have merit, Deion Sanders declared his faith in Eli Sunday night: "I've been echoing it all year – I believe in Eli Manning, so if you guys just want to say it – you can say it, it's okay. I believe in Eli!”

If we are to believe Sanders has been echoing Eli the elite all season long, then what happened to the echo's volume when Sanders declared Rex Grossman the best quarterback in the NFC East just last month

Join us next month when Deion tells everyone he told us Michael Vick is the best quarterback in the NFC East after the Eagles win two in a row against the Seahawks and Dolphins in their December stretch. By the way, kudos to Sanders' Prime Time plays segment on NFL Gameday Final on NFL Network. The segment is sponsored by NAPA which is odd when you consider the segment also has a rap jingle from Snoop Dog. Comparing Snoop Dog's song to the Napa clerk singing Napa know-how is like comparing the Rams offense to the Packers. Or something like that.


Joe Flacco is next in line for elite status - if he hasn't already joined the class. Check out the Baltimore Sun:

As pointed out by the Colonel earlier this week, Flacco's pundit status was hanging in the balance. If the Ravens would have lost, Flacco would be bordering on the choker fringe. Since he won, he's the toast of the town. Just ask Les Carpenter of Yahoo! Sports, who said: 

"Suddenly it was clear Flacco had climbed toward a peak reserved for the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger: a man who can deliver those late, impossible victories."

It will be fun to see which quarterback has his elite license revoked from the pundit police first. 



Following the the Chargers' loss to the Packers in Week 9, Phillip Rivers spoke like any logical, clear-thinking football person would when he compared the Packers' pass defense with the yardage juggernaut that was the 2010 Chargers: 

“They've won 14 games in a row. And they've intercepted the ball more than any team in the league so that's a good pass defense. We know what yards gets you. It gets you 9-7. We found that out last year. Number one in yards in (offense) and (defense).”

Once again, the importance of defensive passer rating rears its head in the door. And once again, it isn't about volume (yards), it's about efficiency (scoring).


Before the Ravens defeated the Steelers by a field goal on NBC's Football Night in America, viewers were treated to Ray Lewis giving a pre-game speech (I know, what'll they think of next?). The last few words of the rant included the words "LET'S GO HUNTING!!!"

It's funny because Lewis' postgame interview was the complete opposite of the violent, survive-in-the-jungle oration he offered prior to kickoff. Here's what he said verbatim after he was asked how the team kept everything together throughout the slugfest.

It must be really hard for teams to defeat the Ravens when God is willing Baltimore to victory. It's one thing for Jeter to will the Yankees to victory, it's another when God is spearing opposing running backs. 


Headlines that God positions for laughter ...

Eagles now considered Dream Team full of Christian Laettener's ...

Ron Winter holds conference to determine if ruling on the field needs a conference ...

Roethlisberger overdrafts checking account after buying more time ...

Tebow opponents embarrassed for Raiders ...

St. Louis Rams released from NFL Redzone channel …

Andrew Luck projected to produce zero fantasy points against Jaguars in Week 10 ...

Pigskin Detention is written by Patrick Imig. He won't feel elite until you follow him on Twitter @patrickimig. You can also reach him by email: