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Eli Manning And The Importance Of Stability At QB

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Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

A stifling defense? Sure. An explosive, prolific offense? Absolutely. Both attributes that will certainly help your chances of winning a Super Bowl. So will a great coach, homefield advantage, opportunistic playmakers and a few lucky breaks. But what's perhaps the important characteristic that nearly all of the past Super Bowl champions share? Stability at the quarterback position.

The list of the past 10 Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks sounds like a who's who of future Hall of Famers: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, just to name a few. But more importantly than the fact that most, if not all, of these names will be enshrined in Canton someday, is the fact that these quarterbacks are all long-term franchise quarterbacks.

The importance of having stability at the quarterback position can't be understated, especially in today's fast-paced game where offensive schemes evolve so quickly and frequently. Having a leader at the quarterback position who has had years to build a rapport with his offense and provide some consistency and familiarity is no longer a luxury for NFL teams hoping to contend for a title — it's a must-have.

Even the quarterbacks who aren't mentioned in the list above — namely Joe Flacco and Russell Wilson — while not considered future Hall of Famers just yet, have already established themselves as the leaders of their respective offenses. But looking back historically at past Super Bowl champions, this trend is nothing new. Save for the occasional anomalies like Brad Johnson or Trent Dilfer, most of the past Super Bowl winners have had stable, franchise quarterbacks at the helm. Troy Aikman, John Elway, Jim Kelly, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach and Joe Montana all took their teams to multiple Super Bowls, and all led their respective teams for over a decade.

The Giants have been one of those lucky teams who have benefitted from having that kind of rare stability at the quarterback position over the last decade. In fact, they've benefitted more than once. Manning has brought two Super Bowl titles to the Giants in his 10 seasons of calling signals for the offense. When he won his first in the 2007 season, he was already a three-year starter and firmly entrenched in the offense. Now, with over a decade at the helm, Manning is getting ready to run his third different offense, and throughout all of the changes that have occurred over that time span, one thing has remained constant: No. 10 under center.

Manning is the reason why Giants fans are always confident in their team's chances, no matter what, and his stability and familiarity with the offense has been the glue that has held the team together time and time again. At 33 years old, Manning will likely continue to lead the Giants for at least the next four or five seasons, if he stays healthy, and as long as he's around the Giants will always feel like they can contend. That's because they've been there before and they know exactly what it takes to get back — and that's something that a majority of the quarterbacks in the NFL can't say.