The bewildered faces of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning have circulated the internet on nearly a weekly bases. The aftermath of a sack, interception, or simple hit leaves Manning in awe, resulting in all-to frequent memes.
The biggest concern in regard to Manning is his lack of fire. Throughout his 15 year career I have seen Manning yell at his teammates an approximate “0” times. His failure to demand success like Tom Brady or show passion like Aaron Rodgers has ultimately forced him to establish himself as a leader in other ways.
The veteran passer always says the right thing, never blames anyone but himself, and works tirelessly to be prepared on game-day. Now, these intangible attributes are required if you’re to be a premier leader on any given team, but lacking emotion and the ability to fire up your team is a major con.
Arguably the best defensive player to ever play the game, Lawrence Taylor, gave his opinion on Eli Manning :
“Eli is Eli,” Taylor said. “He has been a very good quarterback throughout the league. Don’t get me wrong – he’s not my type of quarterback. I know he wants to win. I know he wants to perform. But hey, a guy that plays with no passion, is to me, is a waste of my time. I got to have a guy – Phil Simms will get fired up. You look at Tom Brady – he is out there 17 years and that’s somebody who gets fired up. You understand what I’m saying?”
When you look at a guy like Odell Beckham Jr. you see a leader, a guy that gets angry at failure and will rally his team by example. But him and Eli are opposites. Beckham rarely says the right thing and tends to blame everybody but himself. He’s not the leader of the team, but more the diva that draws the attention and eyes of his teammates.
A player like Saquon Barkley is the perfect example of a leader. He performs at a high-level no matter the score or success of his team. He takes the blame and gets right back to work. He’s the perfect mixture of both styles of leader the Giants currently have- Manning and Beckham combined.
Taylor has a point with the veteran quarterback, further stating:
“I know he’s not that type of leader but somebody’s got to do it. Unless you just want to say, ‘I played for the New York Giants,’ that’s fine. Somebody has got to take the reins and start getting on the players’ asses and make them accountable and it can’t be the coach.”
The legendary linebacker is right, and sooner or later, the Giants are going to need a quarterback that can grab the reins of the offense and lead them into battle with a ferocity unseen.