Sunday Morning QB: Eli Manning vs. Ben Roethlisberger IV

Eli or Big Ben?

All things considered on and off the field: Eli.

Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have each won two Super Bowls, will both likely be in the Hall of Fame and reflect the city where they play. Manning’s clean-cut image fits in well on Madison Avenue and Roethlisberger is a match for blue-collar Pittsburgh.

“I really do believe each guy was perfect for their franchise,” former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi said.

They are forever linked by the backstory of the 2004 draft and meet in Pittsburgh Sunday for the fourth and what could be the final time — Big Ben leads 2-1 — in their careers.

Eli Manning

Eli Manning

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

“Unless we meet in the Super Bowl,” Manning said.

The NFC East and AFC North play every four years. So, to play again in the regular season, they will have to be playing in 2020 in what would be their 17th seasons. If Accorsi had not pulled off the last-minute deal for Manning during the draft, he was going to take Roethlisberger with the fourth overall pick.

After all these years, who would you rather have?

Some factors to consider:

Winning: Roethlisberger is 2-1 in the Super Bowl. Manning is 2-0. Roethlisberger is eighth all time in regular season wins and has a 119-60 (.665) record. Manning is 12th all-time and has a record of 105-89 (.541). Roethlisberger has been to the playoffs eight times in his first 12 years; Manning five times in his first 12 years. Big Ben has never had a losing season. Manning has had four losing seasons, including the last three in a row. – EDGE: BIG BEN

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Big-Game Player: Roethlisberger was horrible in his first Super Bowl victory but made a great throw to Santonio Holmes to win his second Super Bowl against a Cardinals team that was just 9-7 in the regular season. Manning might be the best clutch Super Bowl player ever: He made great throws to David Tyree to win his first Super Bowl against the undefeated Patriots and to Mario Manningham to win his second to beat the Patriots again. – EDGE: ELI

Durability: Manning’s first start was in the 10th game of his rookie year and he has started every game since — 194 in a row in the regular season and 11 more in the playoffs, the third longest streak for a QB in NFL history after Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. Big Ben, who took over as Pittsburgh’s starter in the third game of his rookie year, has started all 16 games just three times. He’s missed 18 starts because of injuries — more than a full season when adding it up — and the first four games of the 2010 season when he was suspended. Six other quarterbacks have started for the Steelers since Roethlisberger became the starter. – EDGE: ELI

Ben Roethlisberger, seen here after winning Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, will be forever linked to Eli.

Ben Roethlisberger, seen here after winning Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, will be forever linked to Eli.

(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Style of Play: Big Ben has the courage to stay in the pocket and the ability to extend plays with uncanny escapability for a big guy. He absorbs more big hits than any quarterback. It’s a credit to his resiliency that he hasn’t missed more games. Manning is a pure pocket passer but has proven he can be elusive. Example: Shaking free from the Patriots’ pass rush on the Helmet Catch play to Tyree in the Super Bowl. They each can sling it. Roethlisberger’s legs make him a more dangerous player. – EDGE: BIG BEN

Accountability: GMs and coaches fear the 2 a.m. phone call, especially if it’s bad news about the franchise quarterback. The Giants have never worried about Manning even though he’s played in a city that is open all night. He had a girlfriend when the Giants drafted him, married her in 2008 and now has three daughters. Big Ben was a train wreck early in his career. He was accused of sexual assault in Reno in 2008 and Georgia in 2010. Although he was never charged, Roger Goodell suspended him for the first six games of the 2010 season and later reduced it to four games for violating the personal conduct policy. In June of 2006, six months after Roethlisberger became the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl, he was nearly killed in a brutal motorcycle wreck in Pittsburgh. He flew over the handle bars and into the windshield of a car, breaking his nose and jaw and suffered a nine-inch cut on the back of his head. The knucklehead was not wearing a helmet despite warnings from then-coach Bill Cowher. Big Ben settled down and was married in 2011 and has two sons and a daughter. – EDGE: ELI

Numbers: Manning: 314 TDs, 209 INTs, 47,089 yards, 59.6%. Roethlisberger: 295 TDs, 154 INTs, 45,740 yards, 64.1%. – EDGE: ELI

Conclusion: Roethlisberger caused the Steelers so much aggravation in his first six years. He is so strong-willed he would have clashed with Tom Coughlin if he played for the Giants. Manning has been the unblemished face of the franchise for 13 seasons. QBs are judged on Super Bowl victories and they are even. I give the overall edge to Manning because of his durability and allowing the Giants to sleep at night. – EDGE: ELI

THE ’04 DRAFT

Accorsi was seven minutes and 30 seconds from taking Roethlisberger with the fourth pick in 2004 after the Chargers had drafted Manning first overall. Accorsi loved both players, he just loved Manning a little bit more. He had been unable to work out a trade for Manning prior to the draft with Chargers GM A.J. Smith, who was insisting on pass rusher Osi Umenyiora being included. Accorsi refused.

The Chargers liked Philip Rivers the best of the three QBs after the San Diego coaching staff, led by Marty Schottenheimer, coached him in the Senior Bowl.

Manning also had told the Chargers he did not want to play for them. Bad organization. Bad offensive line. Archie Manning didn’t want his son to go through what he did in New Orleans playing for an inept team. Accorsi did not hear from Smith the day before the draft, but had been tipped that Smith would take Manning and then halfway through the Giants’ 15 minutes on the clock, would call to offer him to the Giants. That’s exactly what happened. They worked out the parameters and Accorsi drafted Rivers for the Chargers. Roethlisberger dropped all the way to No. 11 to the Steelers.

GRONK GRIEF

Each time Bill Belichick seems to have a hit a home run with his double tight end offense, it breaks down. Aaron Hernandez put an end to his tandem with Rob Gronkowski in 2013 when he was charged with murder and one year later found guilty and sentenced to life without parole. Belichick brought in Martellus Bennett this season and he and Gronk, both 6-6, were a nightmare for defenses. Gronk is now expected to be out for the season with a herniated disk in his back after being injured last week against the Jets, requiring the eighth surgery of his career, two on his back. He also had back surgery in college. The Patriots always find a way to overcome injuries — they were 11-5 when Brady tore his ACL in 2008 — but Brady and Gronk were the difference this season between the Pats and any other Super Bowl contender. Brady said, “That was tough news to hear for everybody because he’s such a big part of our team and what we do — his enthusiasm and energy for the game and what he means to us on the field because he’s such a great player, and the kind of leader he is off the field and in the locker room. So it’s a tough loss, but we’ve still got a big challenge ahead and we’re going to try to do the best we can do.”

Gronk had a chance to be an all-time great player. Now, at the age of 27, his body may just not be able to take any more punishment.

BLUE WAVE

The Giants are beating up on the bad teams just like the Jets did last year. The Giants’ six-game winning streak has come against teams that are a combined 20-46-1. Only the Ravens (6-5) have a winning record. Their last five games are against teams that are 34-20-1 and only the Eagles (5-6) have a losing record… For the Giants (8-3) to win the NFC East, they are going have to run the table, including a victory over the Cowboys next Sunday at MetLife, and end the season with an 11-game winning streak and then hope the Cowboys (11-1) lose to the Bucs or Lions at home or the Eagles on the road. Realistically, that’s not going to happen. But they control their own destiny for the No. 1 wildcard spot.

RAM ROUGH

The feud between Eric Dickerson and Rams coach Jeff Fisher is entertaining. Dickerson has been critical of the Rams on his radio show and Fisher told him not to bother asking for sideline passes for home games anymore. Dickerson was thrilled the Rams moved back to L.A., which is interesting because he played for the Rams in Los Angeles for just over four years before becoming so miserable about his contract they traded him to the Colts in 1987. Now he’s the conscience of Rams Nation and Mr. Rams? He had the perfect situation with the Rams playing for John Robinson behind an elite offensive line. He set the rookie record in 1984 with 1,808 yards rushing; he set the NFL record in his second year with 2,105 yards. Both records still stand. If he stayed with the Rams, he would have been the greatest RB in NFL history… The Rams are 4-7, Fisher is an overrated coach and has been for a long time, Jared Goff is way behind Carson Wentz, and the new stadium isn’t coming until 2019 and by next year they could be sharing L.A. with the Chargers. This hasn’t been the smoothest transition.

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Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News

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