Is Eli’s Worthy of Discussion Among "The Drives?" It Just Might Be…

One of them went for 98 yards and included a few gutsy scrambles from a Hall of Fame quarterback.

Another HOF signal-caller completed 8 of 9 passes for 87 yards before capping his off with a touchdown pass and only :34 remaining on the game clock.

Their names, of course, were Elway and Montana. Their drives are the stuff of NFL legend. Now don’t get us wrong, we’re not even close to discussing Eli Manning in the same quarterback conversation with #7 and #16. But how about his drive?

In Super Bowl XXII, the Niners were seven-point favorites. Montana took over with 3:10 left on the clock and his team down by a field goal against the Bengals. He then engineered a 92-yard drive missing on only one pass attempt. The 49ers faced only one third down (third-and-two), which they converted on a four-yard run by Roger Craig. Montana finished the march with a touchdown pass to John Taylor that sealed the deal.

John Elway’s Broncos were trailing by a touchdown to the Cleveland Browns in the 1986 AFC Championship game with 5:32 to play in regulation. Elway would march his team down the field on a 98-yard drive that forced the game into overtime before again leading the Broncos to a score in overtime earning a trip to Super Bowl XXI. His fourth-quarter effort is immortalized by two words: The Drive.

Eli Manning took the ball with 2:42 remaining against an 18-0 Patriots team looking to make history. His Giants were a huge dog and had just watched their lead slip away. Manning wasn’t perfect on his drive. In fact, he missed on four of nine throws. Yet he converted on three third downs of 10, 5 and 11 yards respectively, including a 32-yard pitch and catch to David Tyree that some are discussing as one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history (and we wouldn’t argue).

Combine the stage, the opponent, the circumstances and the cast…and we think Eli’s 12-play, 83-yard drive to win Super Bowl XLII has to go down among the legendary drives in NFL history.

WE CANNOT BELIEVE WE JUST WROTE THE LAST SENTENCE.

Have we completely lost our minds? Tell us. Certainly there have to be countless drives that could be considered “bigger” or “more memorable.” Right? Please?Because, honestly, nothing makes a bit of sense to us anymore. And if you hear the slight bitterness of a jaded Jets fan coming through in these last words…well, you aren’t hearing things…

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About the Author: Cecilio's Scribe is the founder of The Legend of Cecilio Guante and a generally pessimistic fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers. A fine NYC-based gentlemen who hones his marketing skills as his primary trade by day. Husband, chef, father of a newborn and after-hours blogger by night. Proud alum of the mighty Big Red of Cornell. University. Hot sauce devotee. Staunch protester of the continued wussifcation of American sports. Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick.

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  1. Alejandro says:

    It has to be. This is one of two drives leading to TD’s to win the SB, the other being the Montana drive. Elway’s drive was huge, but not in the Super Bowl, and the Giants are not supposed to win this game. Eli! Eli! Eli!

  2. Cecilio's Scribe says:

    shocking to hear this assertion from you, Alejandro. truly surprising.

  3. FilteringCraig says:

    Anyone who watched this drive knows that it wasn’t a legendary drive. As a whole, it seemed pretty ugly, and you never got that feeling that Giants couldn’t be denied.

    That is, until THE PLAY. This wasn’t a drive. It was a single play. The escape from the Pats rushers, the roll out, the high throw, the trap against his helmet of a basically no-name David Tyree over one of the NFL’s biggest villains, Rodney Harrison.

    So, no, it doesn’t become a legendary drive. It is a legendary play amongst a nerve-shattering drive that was barely duct-taped together by a few plays.

  4. taco king says:

    Filtering Craig seems like a bitter Masshole or Jets fan.

    One of the greatest drives of all time. Indisputable.

    GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGMen.

  5. FilteringCraig says:

    Actually I am a Browns fan from Cleveland that went to Boston University so I HATE HATE HATE the Patriots.

    Just called it like I saw it on this one.

  6. Erie's Scribe says:

    I too am a Browns fan. Go Browns! I think the fact that the drive was duct-taped together by a few plays is what makes it legendary. Like, the “how the hell did they put that shit together,” kind of legendary.

    Its ugliness adds to it’s beauty? I feel like Mr. Miyagi.

  7. Alejandro says:

    The Drive started at the 5:32 mark and went on to tie the AFC Championship Game. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Drive#Play-by-play

    Eli WON the Super Bowl on this drive, with 2:42 left in the game. Against an 18-0 team people had Dennis Green style crowned as the best EVER.

    I’m not taking anything away from Elway, who some think is a top 5 guy all time and who went 98 yards. But the stakes were different in that game. Stakes matter when you determine relative greatness.

    The Bears, 49ers, and Pats all went 18-1. It’s not all the same. Going 98 yards in the Championship game is like going 18-0 in the regular season. The Super Bowl is what matters.

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