I’ll try to make this quick so I don’t get too worked up unnecessarily.
Lately there has been a lot of talk about whether or not Eli Manning would be a Hall of Famer right now. The people in favor point out his post-season success and his two Super Bowl wins (and MVP awards). The people against point out that his career isn’t long enough yet and he has had mixed success in the regular season.
One argument that I keep hearing in favor of Eli’s candidacy is that he plays “in the toughest division in football.”
Oh, really? Tougher than the NFC North right now, with the Packers and Lions both getting into the post-season and the Bears missing mostly because of Cutler’s injury?
“Every game in that division is like a playoff game!”
Okay, slow down. Multiple problems with this. First of all, every game in that division is worth exactly one game. It’s 6.25% of the season.
Second, division games are always tough, no matter what. The Colts’ best seasons had them struggling against lowly Jacksonville.
Third, division games make up only 37.5% of a schedule.
Fourth, the Redskins are in that division, and they haven’t been scary in quite some time. Dallas is hit or miss. New York is hit or miss. Philly is hit or miss. Every one of those teams can strike some kind of fear into opponents, sure, but not terror.
“That division is the best-funded division…”
…with the same salary cap as everyone else. Snyder throws stupid money at Pro Bowl free agents, and they never go back the Pro Bowl. Funding can help with facilities and coaches, sure, but it’s the players who have to win the games.
“The media attention on that division…”
Shut up. Just shut up, media man. If you think that the fact that you’re watching Eli Manning and talking about him on your radio show means that he’s more scared than Sam Bradford who gets mostly ignored in St. Louis, you’re out of your mind. Media attention is an annoyance, not a roadblock. And the only reasons the media still pays attention to that division are that it has a history, and it has a team in New York. Everybody in the country knows the Cowboys because of who they used to be, not because of who they are now. They’re not even America’s Team anymore, despite what they’ll tell you. The Packers are the most popular team nationwide, followed by the Steelers.
Saying the NFC East is the toughest division in football because of who they used to be is like saying NBC is the best place for comedy because it used to have The Cosby Show.
Make other arguments. I’ll listen. But don’t give me that one. It’s full of holes.