A Look at Eli Manning's Historically Bad Season

Remember when Eli vs. Peyton was a real discussion people had?

No matter your opinion on Wal Mart, it’s a guaranteed fact that if you live in the Untied States, you’ve step foot into one at some point in your life. Whether you needed ammunition for your shotgun, milk for your cereal, or some Rachel Ray cookware, you’ve paced the aisles at America’s biggest retailer.

And inevitably, you’ve ended up waiting in line to check out, noting that the cashier has some special name tag which tells you they’ve been a Wal Mart employee for 30 years, with millions of pins and buttons displaying their accomplishments. But the only reason you have the time to notice all of this is because of the excruciatingly poor job they’re doing at scanning and bagging merchandise.

You have no doubt that they were once very good at what they do, but in their current state, they’re just not in a position to keep doing their job at a high level. Perhaps it’s time to move to the express lane, or the register in the garden center that no one ever uses?

That’s Eli Manning this season. He has Super Bowl trophies and Pro Bowl appearances, he has a name that evokes thoughts of quarterback greatness, and he was once thought of as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

But now he’s struggling to even look like an average NFL quarterback, and the Giants are going to miss the playoffs as a result.

Just how bad has Manning been? Let’s put his 2013 season into perspective and figure out how concerned Giants fans should be about their franchise quarterback.

New York, New York

Let’s use Net Expected Points to evaluate the destruction Eli Manning has left in his wake this season. Net Expected Points, or NEP, measures the amount of points a player gains or loses for his team by his actions on the field. You can head over to the glossary for more information and a better explanation.

So let’s compare Eli to some of the other quarterbacks in the NFL using this statistic.

Eli is 286.22 Net Expected Points behind his brother, Peyton, who is the highest-rated quarterback in the league under the statistic. Peyton is a mile ahead of the rest of the league in terms of Passing NEP, so I suppose it's a bit unfair to compare.

So how about his NFC East brethren? Eli is closest to Robert Griffin III, who has a positive Passing NEP of 20.86 this season. Compared to Eli’s -49.41, Griffin’s “bench-worthy” season sure looks pretty good to Giants fans.

Let's narrow it down even further and compare Eli to the other quarterbacks in the state of New York.

There have been 33 quarterbacks this season who have dropped back to pass 250 or more times. And there are 30 passers with a total Passing NEP higher than -35.00 this season as well.

and then there are the quarterbacks in New York State, each with Passing NEPs worse than -45.00.

Think about how embarrassing it is for Eli Manning to be in the same discussion as Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel for the title of worst passer in the NFL. Yikes.

And the worst part of Manning’s presence alongside these two quarterbacks is that he’s done nothing to help his team’s rushing attack, something both Manuel and Smith have done to begin to salvage the horrible numbers they post as passers.

Manuel has played 10 games, and has a Passing NEP total of -47.84. Extrapolated over a 16 game season, that would be good for a -76.54 Passing NEP, which would rank among the 20 worst seasons at the quarterback position since 2000.

Geno Smith’s numbers are even worse. Smith is like a spy from other NFL teams, sent to New York to secretly destroy the Jets’ offense. Except he’s not doing a very good job of keeping it a secret. If you extrapolate Smith’s numbers over a 16 game season, which he is on pace for, his -101.45 Passing NEP would be fifth-worst all time, coming in as barely better than Chris Weinke’s 2001 campaign.

So for Manning to even be in the discussion with these two is embarrassing, but that’s where he finds himself with his current numbers.

Some Historical Context: Imagine Tim Tebow Without Running Ability

But it gets even worse when you put it into deeper historical context.

If you average out Manning’s performances and compare it to previous quarterback seasons, his season total of -56.47 would come in behind Tim Tebow’s 2011 season as a passer. Keep in mind that Tebow’s running ability is a separate metric here at numberFire, and his duck-like passes are the only thing considered in the Passing NEP metric.

Some of the other names Manning would finish behind if he continues at his current pace over the last two games of the season:

  • - J.T. O’Sullivan’s famous 2008 season
  • - Kellen Clemens’ fantastic 2007 season
  • - The historic 2005 season from Brooks Bollinger
  • - The "Who could forget?" 2007 campaign from Rex Grossman
  • - Mark Brunell in 2004

Joey Harrington had multiple seasons in the NFL better than the one Eli Manning is having right now, guys. That’s enough to give me an “Eli face.”

But the worst part is that the Giants insist that Eli continue to throw the football, despite the destruction he causes to their probability of winning every time he unleashes the football.

Eli has already dropped back to pass 521 times with two weeks to go. Among quarterbacks over the last 13 completed seasons, only eight passers have dropped back more than 500 times and earned a Passing NEP lower than -50. That’s what Eli is on track to do this season.

At least the Jets know to take Geno Smith off the field to run the wildcat every now and then.

In fact, there are only two teams this season who have quarterbacks with negatives NEPs who have dropped back to pass more than 400 times (Smith and Chad Henne), and neither comes within 70 drop backs of Eli.

So while other teams hide their poor quarterback behind a running game or send him to the bench to think about what he’s done, the Giants continue to throw in their two-time Super Bowl winning, struggling passer. They’re like Wal Mart. With the way he’s played, Eli is barely deserving of being the door greeter of quarterbacks.

They’re going to keep this cashier in this highly trafficked lane, and they’re not going to care that it takes you three hours to check out with your items. He earned this right. He won a Super Bowl.

I’m sorry, Giants fans.