Damon Harrison mentioned teammate and quarterback Eli Manning in the same sentence with NBA superstar LeBron James on Monday, uttering those names mere words apart. But he in no way compared the New York Giants quarterback to one of the greatest basketball players the game has ever seen.
So calm down Twitter. Pipe down there Facebook. It is reading (or listening) comprehension and nothing more than that.
On Monday’s episode of ‘Good Morning Football’ on the NFL Network, Harrison spoke about the perception of his quarterback, a two-time Super Bowl MVP and statistically one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. In large part due to being in his famous older brother’s shadow, Manning is always criticized and diminished despite having won two championships and putting up some big individual numbers. Critics argue certain numbers to diminish Manning’s status, despite the overwhelming evidence that the Giants quarterback is a success by nearly every metric or intrinsic.
So Harrison defended his quarterback while invoking the name of James. He did not compare James, arguably the best athlete of the 21st century with Manning. He didn’t say they are alike.
What he did say is that people are taking shots at Manning in a similar fashion to James, who is very often unfairly criticized and compared to the likes of Michael Jordan. This despite James’ success and multiple NBA titles.
Harrison gave something for fans and the media to snack on. What followed was a twisting of his words.
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“Look at Eli’s numbers,” Harrison said on the popular NFL Network show. “Any other quarterback would have those numbers it would be an amazing year. But it being Eli, no one is respecting it much like we do with LeBron James.”
Nowhere in Harrison’s statement did he compare Manning to James in terms of legacy or accomplishments as an athlete. But he does bring up a tremendous point about the onslaught of comparisons Manning faces, not only being stacked up against his tremendously successful older brother but against other quarterbacks of his generation.
James faces the same criticism and comparisons when his own record and accomplishments should stand on their own.
In both regards, Manning does well and is a success. He may not be the greatest of all time or the best quarterback of the past decade but his accomplishments as an individual and as a leader will stand the test of time for this Giants organization. It is hard to look at him when stacked against the Giants history or across this era of the NFL and not find far more positives than negatives within his career resume.
And that in and of itself for the likes of Harrison and likely the rest of his Giants teammates is good enough. No comparisons needed or warranted.