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Philip Rivers is a better QB than Eli Manning

Updated on November 28, 2013

QB comparison

Philip Rivers is a better overall quarterback than Eli Manning.

Eli Manning has been the quarterback for the New York Giants for the past nine seasons, in which he has played in and won two super bowls. After denying the San Diego Chargers who picked him in the draft he was sent to New York and Philip Rivers to San Diego.

Eli Manning is an interception machine. Count on him throwing up a pick in every game he plays. He is the #2 in pick six touchdowns for the opposing team since 2004 with 17, a stat which is only outdone by Carson Palmer. Yet, somehow Eli has more fourth quarter game winning drives than most other quarterbacks. The only quarterbacks still playing that have more game winning drives than Eli Manning are, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger.

Is Eli Manning as elite of a quarterback as you think? Was it his ability that won him those super bowls, or did his receivers make outstanding catches when they absolutely needed them? Did Eli stumble into the right place at the right time?

Although Philip Rivers was also known to throw up interceptions in games last year, his offensive line gave up the most sacks in the league. This year, adjustments have obviously been made as Phil and the Chargers have learned to protect the football and not make dumb mistakes in critical situations.

Eli and Phil have more in common than most would think. They both have the ability to get the ball to their receivers in key situations, and they’re both about as mobile as a car without wheels. So why should Eli be considered so Elite?

A key difference between the two is that Phil is a fiery quarterback and is no stranger to smack talk on the field. Whether it’s with other players, or getting on the referees case about a call, you can count on Phil to put the team on his back and stand up to anyone. Eli on the other hand, lacks that drive and willingness to stick up for his teammates. Many times have I seen Eli shaking his head, looking miserable and shaken, after an errant throw, or a dropped pass, or a fumble from any one of the Giant’s running backs. The worst part is the timing of his mistakes, which he always seems to make early on in the game and when they cannot afford to have them. There may be the reason he has so many game winning drives, because of his knack for coming back from behind.

All quarterbacks take big hits in the NFL undeniably. They can both handle the punishment but to me it’s more of how they handle it. I can’t be sure but sometimes I think Eli closes his eyes and tries to go down when he sees a sack coming. Phil is always getting the ball out, and if he can’t get the receiver he wants, he gets the ball to the check down and gives his guys a chance to make a play.

Eli just can’t seem to throw a screen pass, whether it’s the running back or his line that aren’t doing their jobs, the Giants cannot execute the screen. On the contrary, Phil’s game is made in the screen passes and dump offs, much like Drew Brees does with the Saints. The screen game opens up other down field pass plays to your offense and if screens aren’t viewed as a threat by the defense, the team’s passing game becomes easier to maintain.

Philip Rivers is a mistake minimizer. When the play is completely blown, and there are guys all over his check down receiver, he throws the ball into the ground, eliminating the possibility of an interception, fumble, or unnecessary injury to his receiver. Phil also has a knack for spotting defensive holding and is quick to deliver the ball in that direction in an attempt to get the call. Unfortunately, in today’s game it would seem that the ability to draw penalties has become extremely relevant, disappointing to football fans who would much rather see the integrity of the game upheld.



Completion %
Passing Yards
QB Rating
Philip Rivers
Eli Manning
Both QB's drafted in the same year.


The most touchdowns Eli ever threw in a season was in 2010 in which he threw 31 touchdowns. He also threw 25 interceptions. So far this year he has thrown 3 more interceptions than he has thrown touchdowns. His completion percentage so far this year is 56.9%.

The most touchdowns Phil has ever thrown in a season was in 2008 in which he threw 34, along with only 11 interceptions. Also Philip Rivers has never thrown more than 20 interceptions in a season. So far this year Phillip Rivers has thrown 14 more touchdowns than interceptions. His completion percentage so far this year is 70.8%.

Statistically speaking Philip Rivers is better than Eli Manning in the following:

Completion percentage

Touchdown to Interception ratio

QB rating, (which personally I don’t believe means anything.)

Touchdowns thrown in a season


However, we cannot rely solely on stats to decide a player’s ability. Apparently quarterbacks who don’t have A grades in the stat book, can manage super bowl victories, as Eli has proven. Also, I’d like to dispute any thinking that Eli was the only reason that the Giants managed their super bowl victories. It was clear that the wide receiving crew played their hearts out and the Giants defense was very effective in stopping other teams during playoff time.

I made a bet with my father, an avid Giants fan, at the beginning of the season in regards to Philip Rivers and Eli Manning. The bet was that Phil’s touchdown to interception ratio would be better than Eli’s at the end of the season. Right now its safe for me to say that money is mine. We will get to see who gets the better of one another in Week 14 of the 2013 NFL season.



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    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      As a diehard Giants fan, I have to say you are right. Rivers is better. But sometimes the better QB does not win the big game (i.e. Jim Kelly, Marino, etc.). Rivers has thrown for fewer interceptions but I have seen throw some bad pics at key moments. So maybe he does try to do too much. Eli must know that his defense can bail him out and that may help him take chances. Voted up.