Once upon a time, New York Giants running back (now retired), Tiki Barber, said quarterback Eli Manning was “laughable.” Shortly after that statement, Manning would go on to lead Big Blue to a Super Bowl XLII victory in which he would be named MVP. The following year, Barber would apologize to Manning for his comments in a face-to-face interview. But Barber took that apology to a new level on Wednesday, telling Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobsen of CBS Sports’ the Morning Show that Eli is now better than his brother and current Denver Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning.
“The expectation was that he was never going to be Peyton. I remember having these conversations with people who watched Eli in college, saying, ‘He’s good, but he’s never going to be Peyton, he’s not Peyton.’ Guess what? I think he’s better than Peyton,” Barber told CBS Sports. “Because of clutch. What matters in sports? It’s winning and losing. You get to the stage and what do you do? Eli’s gotten there and he’s won.”
But Barber didn’t stop there. Instead, he said he feels Eli has positioned himself to eventually be considered one of the top five quarterbacks in NFL history … if he wins another Super Bowl, Super Bowl MVP award and has a couple more 2011-like seasons.
“For Eli to crack the top five of all time, he’s got to have a 2011 [type] season a couple more times and win another Super Bowl and be Super Bowl MVP, and then I think he’s in the discussion for the top five [quarterbacks] of all time,” Barber said.
In the end, Barber knows he, himself, has been proven wrong about Eli. But unlike the other analysts and pundits that refuse to acknowledge their mistake, Barber has owned up to his.
“As much as you want to try and diminish what he’s done, you can’t,” he added. “Every stat and conversation point supports what he’s done.”
If that sort of honesty doesn’t mend fences, we’re not sure anything ever will.
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