Comparing the career arcs of Joe Flacco and Eli Manning
Flacco 60% 2,971YDS 14TD 12INT 6FUM 80.3RAT
Eli (9 games) 48% 1,043YDS 6TD 9INT 2FUM 55.4 RAT
Flacco 63.1% 3,613YDS 21TD 12INT 6FUM 88.9RAT
Eli 52.8% 3,762YDS 24TD 17INT 7FUM 75.9RAT
Flacco 62.6% 3,622YDS 25TD 10INT 7FUM 93.6RAT
Eli 57.7% 3,244YDS 24TD 18INT 7FUM 77.0RAT
Flacco 57.6% 3,610YDS 20TD 10INT 9FUM 80.9RAT
Eli 56.1% 3,336YDS 23TD 20INT 9FUM 73.9RAT
Year 4 was 2007 for Eli. Here's what he did in the playoffs that season, which obviously culminated in a Super Bowl win over the heavily favored Patriots.
@TB 20/27 185YDS 2TD 0INT 117.1RAT
@DAL 12/18 163YDS 2TD 0INT 132.4RAT
@GB(OT) 21/40 251YDS 0TD 0INT 72.0RAT
SB vs NE 19/34 255YDS 2TD 1INT 87.3RAT
Much of the criticisms of Eli to this point were that he's not a locker room leader, bad body language on the field, doesn't take charge, not elite, etc. Now, Eli had a pretty good running game to lean on in 2007 (Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, Ahmad Bradshaw) and an elite defense (53 sacks). He also had good, but not great receivers (Plaxico, Toomer and Shockey). While the rush offense was prolific (2,148 YDS and 4.6/ATT), the pass blocking was mediocre (28 sacks).
Following the SB win, Eli's career took off. 2008 saw notable statistical performance, but I wouldn't call it elite. Then 2009, 2010 and 2011 saw him throw for over 4,000YDS and at least 27TDS each year. Sometimes all it takes is patience and a big win over Tom Brady in the playoffs. Just sayin'...