Jerry Jones: Eli Manning made the difference for Giants

MOBILE, Ala. -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said it was hard to watch the NFC and AFC championship games without his own team involved.

Yet, Jones believes the difference between his Cowboys and the New York Giants, who face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI is Eli Manning taking advantage of his supporting cast.

Jones loves his quarterback Tony Romo and still believes he can deliver a championship. Yet in the two regular-season losses the Cowboys suffered to the Giants, and the stretch of games the Giants won to salvage their season, Manning was the difference.

“I don’t want to take anything away [from them] but the big difference was Eli came up here and started what seemed like a pretty significant [stretch]," Jones said of Manning's play toward the end of the season. "But the quarterback play with Eli was the huge difference. But I was pretty impressed with how they’re defense played the last three or four ball games.”

Manning’s team had lost four consecutive games until a Dec. 11 meeting at Dallas. When it was over, Manning threw for 400 yards and led the Giants on a go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter. Romo drove his team into field goal range but a potential game-tying field goal was blocked at the end of regulation resulting in a 37-34 loss.

In the regular-season finale, with the winner clinching the final NFC playoff spot and the NFC East title, the Giants jumped out to a 21-0 lead as Manning threw touchdown passes of 74 and 10 yards.

A comeback by the Cowboys fell short and they lost, 31-14. The Giants finished the regular season winning three of their last four games.

It seems as if Manning has elevated his game again, at the best possible time and that’s impressed Jones who is watching the postseason from home.

“That’s tough to take watching those teams play,” he said of the both conference title games. “It was good watching, AFC and NFC [Sunday], really great ball games, of course always not a fun day, from my prospective watching those games.”

Jones still believes in the core group of players he has who can help Romo push his team to a title. He was just impressed with how Manning did it late in the season and hopes for Romo to do it in the near future.