New York Giants’ QB Eli Manning will be replacing Green Bay Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers after Rodgers pulled out because of injuries to “multiple lower extremities.” Manning will join Atlanta Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan, if he doesn’t win in the NFC Championship Game. If Ryan does win and advances to Super Bowl XLVII, he will have to be replaced as well.
Manning and Ryan will be joining New Orleans Saints’ QB Drew Brees, who replaced Washington Redskins’ QB Robert Griffin III. Griffin III, as you all know, could not play because of tears to ligaments in his knee. He underwent surgery and will now endure at least six months of rehabilitation.
All of these replacements are showing just how deep the NFC is at the quarterback position. When you look around the conference, there are many teams with franchise quarterbacks. The Seattle Seahawks are starting to see their franchise on the rise with the play of QB Russell Wilson. The San Francisco 49ers, who will play this Sunday in the NFC Championship Game, have a franchise quarterback in QB Colin Kaepernick.
Other teams with young franchise quarterbacks include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers. All of this is in addition to teams already with established veteran franchise quarterbacks like the Giants, Saints and Dallas Cowboys.
With all of this being said, I do not believe Manning should’ve been named the second alternate. Manning didn’t have a bad season, but he also didn’t have a Pro Bowl worthy season. It was already bad when they named Griffin III to the Pro Bowl instead of Brees in the first place. Griffin III made some dynamic plays, but he was just a game manager and not asked to do as much.
Brees threw for over 5,100 yards again this season while asked to carry a Saints’ team with a horrendous defense. Griffin III was actually the least impressive rookie quarterback between himself, Wilson and Indianapolis Colts’ QB Andrew Luck. Luck and Wilson threw more impressively from the pocket. Griffin III is still being coddled by the coaching staff.
Detroit Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford had a case to be in there as well. He almost threw for 5,000 yards a season after doing so. Before last year, only Brees threw for at least 5,000 yards in a season since former Miami Dolphins’ QB Dan Marino did it in 1984. Brees and Stafford should get recognition for that with Pro Bowl selections.
One thing will be clear going forward. It will be hard to make it to the Pro Bowl as a quarterback in the NFC.