When you look at the NFC’s Pro Bowl roster, it’s hard to argue against any of the quarterbacks that made the cut. Aaron Rodgers should be a shoo in to win the 2011 MVP, and Drew Brees just eclipsed Dan Marino’s single season passing record with another game to play. There’s no doubt that they both deserve to be on the NFC’s Pro Bowl squad. Eli Manning started his season with elite numbers, but he faded as the season went on. So, now that the Pro Bowl rosters are in, it’s time to begin the debate. Eli Manning or Matthew Stafford?
At first glance, I was okay with putting Manning in the Pro Bowl over Stafford, but that was before I began looking at each quarterbacks’ numbers. I hate the quarterback rating statistic, but it can be useful in getting a very basic comparison between two quarterbacks, and that’s the way I used it when I looked at each quarterbacks’ season.
Eli Manning has posted a game quarterback rating of 100.0 or higher just 5 times. In contrast, Matthew Stafford has accomplished that feat 9 times. On top of that, Manning has had a quarterback rating below 80 in 5 games, something Stafford has done just 4 times.
The next issue that we need to consider is that Matt Stafford has better receivers. That will certainly aid him in raising his passing statistics. By the same token, the Giants have a much more consistent defense that can keep its offense close in a game when Manning and the rest of the offense isn’t performing at top level. All considered, it’s impossible to compare apples and oranges, but I’d call those two factors a wash. Eli Manning does throw to a very good group of receivers, and the Lions have a very formidable defense, at times.
Another wash between the two quarterbacks comes with their completion percentages. While Stafford’s completion percentage is slightly higher (63.7% to 60.3%), it’s hardly enough to be considered hugely significant.
The final pair of statistics are almost always put side by side. I’m talking about the most basic way of comparing a quarterback’s efficiency; touchdowns and interceptions. Eli Manning has thrown 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. While that’s an impressive ratio of touchdowns to interceptions, it’s not as impressive as Matthew Stafford’s ratio of 36 touchdowns to 14 interceptions.
Now we can get back to our core debate. Was Matthew Stafford snubbed? Yes. Even if we don’t consider mitigating factors in this discussion, Stafford has had a more impressive year. When you consider that fact that the Lions haven’t been to the playoffs since the 20th century, there’s really no argument. Matthew Stafford was snubbed hands down.
While Matthew Stafford wasn’t selected to go to the Pro Bowl, it’s likely that he’ll find himself there anyway. The chances are that one of the three quarterbacks in front of him will be headed to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, ruling them out for the NFL’s all-star game. He deserves to go, and the only way he shouldn’t be there should come in the form of a Super Bowl trip for the Lions. Matthew Stafford was snubbed, plain and simple.