Tiki Barber thinks Eli is better than Peyton
Eli Manning | New York Giants
Eli Manning | New York Giants
The Giants Beat
Posted Jul 24, 2013

Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber has had a contentious relationship with Eli Manning and the Big Blue fan base since retiring in 2006. The Giants Beat's Aaron Yorke discusses Barber's recent praise for the younger Manning brother and determines whether this claim is a fact, or just wishful thinking.

Tike Barber thinks what?

Even Giants fans would admit that their beloved signal caller is the second best (or third best) quarterback in the Manning family. And yet the claim that Barber made on his CBS Sports Radio morning show was that Eli is better than Peyton Manning.

In his first year removed from the Giants, Barber said on NBC that it was comical to watch Eli Manning try to act as a leader. Now, though, Barber has completely changed his tune thanks to the younger Manning’s great performances when the stakes are the highest.

“Because of clutch,” said Barber when explaining why Eli is superior, “What matters in sports? It’s winning and losing.”

It’s true that Eli has two Super Bowl rings while Peyton only has one, but the difference between the two in “clutch” situations isn’t night and day. The edge that Eli supposedly has on Peyton is really as small as the difference of Tracy Porter catching a Peyton Manning interception in Super Bowl XLIV and Asante Samuel dropping an Eli Manning interception in Super Bowl XLII.

Enough about “what ifs,” though. For Eli’s career, 3.2 percent of his pass attempts have been interceptions and 4.7 percent have gone for touchdowns. Peyton during his career has thrown for 2.7 percent interceptions and 5.6 percent touchdowns. When the chips are down, Peyton has a better chance at making a big play and also a better chance at avoiding disaster. If you only look at playoffs, the percentages swing in Eli’s favor. He throws touchdowns 4.8 percent of the time and interceptions 2.2 percent of the time. Peyton’s percentages are 4.2 and 2.7, respectively. For Eli, though, those rates are accumulated over the course of 11 games, or roughly two-thirds of a regular season. Peyton has played 20 playoff games in his career, and it’s tougher to maintain a great playoff performance like Eli’s over a larger sample.

Will the younger brother’s next playoff game be more like 2007 and 2011 or like 2008 and 2005? Giants fans are just hoping that Eli and the rest of the team will show up for the playoffs this season.

That’s not the case for Denver Broncos fans. That’s because Peyton has led his team to the postseason in every season he’s played since 2002. While Eli is capable of a great performance from time to time, it takes a truly great player to consistently play at a high level. If Eli can learn to do that, we can actually start to have a serious argument about Barber’s claim. Until then, this sort of talk is just wishful thinking.

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