Is Eli Manning a Top-10 QB?

Bob Donnan/US Presswire

Eli Manning has ranked in the top 11 among all QB's the last 3 seasons, according to Total QBR.

Responding to a question posed to him on The Michael Kay Radio Show Tuesday about whether he ranks in the Top 5 or 10 among NFL QB, Eli Manning said he believes himself to be in that class.

According to Total QBR, he may be in the Top 10, but it appears he falls short of being among the most elite QB over the last couple seasons. He's ranked eighth and seventh in each of the last two seasons, respectively, with a Total QBR near 65 each year, which is quite good but not excellent (remember, 50 is average).

Eli's 63.8 Total QBR over the last three regular seasons - as far back as QBR can be calculated - ranks him ninth among all qualifying QB in that span. He is right on the fringe of being an elite QB, but not exactly at the Peyton Manning/Tom Brady/Drew Brees level by this metric.

Eli Manning's Total QBR
Last 3 Regular Seasons

Digging a bit deeper, let’s look at how much more valuable Eli Manning is on a “total points” basis (i.e. how many points did he add to his team). Taking a step back from the 0-100 rating and looking at the numbers on a TOTAL basis, we can look at essentially, how many points above average Eli Manning has been worth to the New York Giants in each of the last three seasons. Think of going from the rating back to this “expected points added” number as analogous to going from a rate statistic like yards per attempt back to a total statistic like total yards (that takes into account playing time, number of attempts, etc.).

Over the past three seasons, Eli Manning has been very consistent, adding about 55-58 “clutch-weighted expected points” – the points metric behind Total QBR - to the Giants each season. That’s good enough for him to rank within one spot of 10th among all NFL quarterbacks in each of those seasons.

Eli Manning’s Clutch-Weighted Expected Points Added
Last 3 Regular Seasons

If you look at the numbers across the three-year span, Eli ranks seventh among all QB with nearly 170 clutch-weighted expected points added. While this shows that Eli is well above average in this span, the gap between himself and his brother Peyton, who ranks number one over this span with 323 clutch-weighted expected points added , is over 150 total points!

This may not be fair since Peyton is so far ahead of everyone else, but even if you just look at the difference between Eli and sixth-place Matt Schaub over the last three years (198 for Schaub, 169 for Eli), Schaub has been responsible for about 30 more points, showing that Eli can’t really be considered “Top 5” by this metric (but he is safely in the Top 10).

For the record, Eli does rank ahead of Tom Brady when looking at things this way, but keep in mind that this is mainly because Brady missed nearly all of the 2008 season with injury. This is why Brady looks a lot better in the rate statistic while Eli outperforms him on a total basis over these three years.

For exclusive video, stories and blogs about quarterbacks from every level of competition, check out ESPN’s “Year of the Quarterback” page.