This weekend in the NFL offers an unexpected treat for Giants fans, the last three signal-callers for the G-Men are all playing big games for or against the locals.
For those not keeping track, we're talking about Kerry Collins, who welcomes the Jets into Tennessee, and former mentor and protege Kurt Warner and Eli Manning facing off in Arizona. While such matchups are not unprecedented in today's NFL, it's an interesting array of circumstances in that the span of time in which all three played in New York is less than five years, and all were relatively successful for the Giants (above .500 winning percentage), and all are currently successful as well.
Which goes to show, despite all the gripes through the years, the Giants quarterback position has not really been a problem. So let's take a quick look at their stories:
Kerry Collins: Collins is the most inexplicable story of the three. Now 35 years old, Kerry etched himself into Giants lore by leading the team to a Super Bowl run in 2000. And though the Ravens smothered him that day, making New York a mere footnote on their way to culminating a championships for one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, he's always been regarded with a measure of respect for his talent, and his perseverance. Both those qualities are now in full effect for the Titans, as Old Man Collins is playing much like he did for the Giants; not spectacular, but good enough to win. In contrast to the sad story that appears to be the Vince Young narrative, Kerry Collins is one of the heartwarming feel-good NFL stories of the year.
Kurt Warner: Oddly enough for a former NFL MVP, Kurt Warner has always been the guy your team needs, but doesn't want. The perpetual veteran mentor for an up-and-coming protégé. After being forced out by an emerging Marc Bulger in St. Louis, Warner was supposed to stabilize the Giants. Which he did, but unfortunately Eli Manning was fast-tracked to the starting position and while some questioned it then, no one questions it now. After being dissed by two teams, Warner thought surely he would be good to start in Arizona where they haven't seen a good QB play since Jake The Snake's one good season. But then he got hurt, and the Cardinals drafted Matt Leinart and it looked like the same story again. Except it wasn't, and Warner has persevered and now leads a team that based on the standings may be the first to clinch a division title. At 37, Warner figures to retire at some point in the near future, and his wife will likely be groomed to take over his seat on the couch, and Kurt will probably fight that demotion as well.
Eli Manning: The once and future King. Sitting at 0-2 at the beginning of last season, there were a lot of questions as to whether Eli was an actual upgrade over Collins or Warner. But since that point the team has gone 19-5, won a Super Bowl, and now have their sights set on another. Who could have thought someday Eli might be more highly regarded than his highly-regarded brother Peyton, but two Super Bowl victories might just make the case.
In any event, all three of these quarterbacks have talent, as well as All Pro caliber toughness and perseverance (there's that word again). They also show you probably need all three of those things if you want to be a successful quarterback in this town.