Comparing quarterback records against each other is often silly and meaningless. They play opposite each other, never once facing off until the post-game embrace. That said, after this SuperBowl, two statistics are worth noting and comparing via this statistical comparison. The first is, until last night, Russell Wilson was 10-0 against Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. The second, however, stayed true beyond this Super Bowl. Eli Manning remains the only quarterback to defeat Tom Brady in a Super Bowl.
The Mad Scientist Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady, his liaison who executes any game-plan with unmatched precision was defeated twice by a quarterback who early in his career looked overwhelmed and over-matched. But, there is a little explored, but immensely important difference between Russell Wilson and Eli Manning.
Russell Wilson is a phenomenal player, athlete, and in the public, at the very least a tremendous individual. A multi-sport athlete who transferred to multiple colleges but multiplied his success. A natural born leader, a commander of respect and admiration of his teammates. A man tested, but never truly humbled. Everywhere Wilson has been he has enjoyed immediate success. The situations have all been tailored to fit his diverse skill-set, and the environment has been one in which intermediate adversity was present, but not truly a danger.
In comparison with Eli Manning, he certainly has lead the more charmed football career. Being booed on draft night, being lambasted by media and fans alike, all muttering aloud that Manning was only chosen based off his name. Then, in his first season, he completed less than 50 percent of his throws. In his second, he barely crossed the 50/50 barrier, completing 52 percent. Fans were questioning him, and players in the locker room were privately and publicly doubting his leadership ability. The ability for Manning to face that adversity, and have the mental strength not to fold under the pressure but instead rise above it is a testament to his resilience.
It was those first two seasons, where Manning was the farthest thing from the toast of New York which humbled him, and provided the impetus for those Super Bowl runs. To play with the greats, the psychological aspect of the game is equally, if not more important then physical talent. Brady and Manning both were severely doubted, both overcame adversity, and both overcame immense psychological barriers to become the face of their respective franchises. Eli needed every bit of that psychological adversity to truly understand the magnitude of the moment when he squared off against Brady, and when he finally got his chance in the SuperBowl, Manning beat Tom. Twice.