Oh yes they did.
It's as if the folks in charge of the weekly Hot Button debate feature sat back in their comfortable office desk chairs and thought to themselves, "What's the one topic that will really get folks seriously fired up on the NFC East blog?" and got it exactly right.
This week's Hot Button asks the simple question: Who's the better quarterback? Eli Manning or Tony Romo? Ashley Fox picks Romo and John Clayton picks Eli. I flipped a coin 101 times to decide whose side to quote first, and Clayton won. So here's John on Eli:
In a season of fourth-quarter comebacks, Manning has been the best. Like Romo, he has four fourth-quarter comebacks. He has a total of five game-winning drives, one more than Romo. Romo might have tied Manning on Sunday had Jason Garrett not called timeout and wiped out Dan Bailey's game-winning field goal, but that is an argument for another time.
Statistically, Manning is the best fourth-quarter thrower in football.
In fourth quarters, Manning has a league-best 120.5 passer rating. He completes 67.2 percent of his passes in the fourth quarter, and his yards per attempt is at 9.6. He has 13 fourth-quarter touchdown passes. The next closest is Tom Brady at 10.
Eli is having a Peyton Manning-like season in the fourth quarter.
So there are some interesting comparisons to the guys Manning said before the season he considers himself in the same class as. John says he's got Romo and Manning right next to each other in his quarterback rankings. And Ashley says Manning's had the better career, since "hardware matters," and he's got the Super Bowl ring. She just thinks Romo's having the better year:
Romo has always had a strong arm and has always been able to make every throw, but this season he is not trying to force the ball into double coverage or make something happen that is not there. He is playing safer, which means he is playing smarter.
Look at Romo's November. No one other than the peerless Aaron Rodgers had a better month. In wins over Seattle, Buffalo, Washington and Miami, Romo completed 68 percent of his passes and threw 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Romo threw six touchdown passes on throws of at least 15 yards, the highest total in the league during that stretch.
So there you have it. You know where I come down on this. I think they're both great. I like Romo a little bit better for his physical skill set and would take him if you held a gun to my head. But if I had the second pick in that draft and had to settle for Manning, I wouldn't give it a second thought. I've written this many times, and it's never failed to generate a reaction. So go ahead. React.