The New York Giants are Super Bowl Champions and Eli Manning has cemented himself as an elite quarterback in the NFL. Bucs fans might not take much solace in that, but Manning and Josh Freeman share a couple of very important similarities, traits that help quarterbacks succeed in the NFL.
Now obviously the way the two men play the game is vastly different, they have different skill-sets and different tendencies. Manning is more of a classic drop-back passer, Freeman can move for instance. But they both have similar demeanors, and they both have a knack for the clutch.
In terms of their mindsets, their personalities, Freeman and Manning both share a laid back, self confidence that tends more toward quiet than out-spoken. Listen to what the Bucs say about their young quarterback. Despite the fact he will speak up in the media, he prefers to lead by example, he’s not a rah-rah type by nature. He’s just quietly confident.
That’s always been a knock on Eli, sometimes his laid-back attitude comes across as disinterested, but in the end that temperament helps Manning deal with adversity and pressure. It’s a trait that Freeman has as well. It’s probably serving him well this off-season.
But for both men, their demeanor belies a fierce competitiveness inherent in each of them. Eli Manning talks about not being nervous with the game on the line, nerves as he says are indicative of a lack of preparation. Josh Freeman by the same token has said he’d much rather go out and win a game than try not to lose it.
That attitude has been evident in both. Go back to Josh Freeman at Kansas State leading insane comebacks as a freshman, go back to him just last season, heck early this year and you’ll see a quarterback who is at home with a game on the line. Eli clearly needs little introduction when it comes to that department, especially not after last night. Both excel in crunch time.
The point isn’t too say that Josh Freeman is just like Eli, or that they are going to have similar careers.
Not at all.
The point is that these intangibles are huge to success in the NFL. The steeled demeanor and the ability to embrace clutch situations are absolutely essential in franchise quarterbacks.
The Giants franchise always saw those qualities in Eli and he’s grown into a truly great quarterback at this stage in his career. But he went through some growing pains to get there and even now he still has bad games. Just like Josh Freeman.
In 2010 Freeman threw 25 touchdowns to just six picks and lead 7 game-winning drives. This year he threw 22 interceptions.
Last season Eli Manning threw 25 interceptions, this year he won a Super Bowl.
No, the point I’m making right now is that Josh Freeman isn’t as far off as some people think.
Sure he has work to do, film to watch and coaching to receive. But he has the tough qualities, the ones you can’t teach, the ones that make the difference between good and great. Josh Freeman has all the tools, both mental and physical, it’s just a matter of the Bucs getting him to reach his potential.
But if you were down on Freeman after this year, just look at Eli smiling today at Disney World as the reigning Super Bowl MVP and keep in mind that in the NFL there’s not that much distance between a 25-pick nightmare and Super Bowl dreams.