Back on Jan. 13, 2008, Eli Manning came to Texas Stadium fresh off a victory in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Tony Romo was coming fresh off a first-round bye after leading the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-3 regular-season record.
Manning was nothing more than a bus driver for the New York Giants, who relied on their running game and defense to win games.
That was, until Manning threw two touchdown passes to beat Romo and the Cowboys en route to eventually unseating the 18-0 New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Now, Romo would've won that game if Patrick Crayton could hold on to a football, and Romo has taken plenty of unfair criticism throughout his career for not being able to win in the postseason.
So far, he has one win, so yeah, his postseason history isn't the best. But winning in the postseason doesn't fall solely on a quarterback. There has to be talent around him too. For the longest time, everyone said Peyton Manning couldn't win the big one. Then he won a Super Bowl. The same was said about John Elway, and he eventually won two.
Fast-forward four years to this past Sunday's NFC Championship Game.
Manning and Romo both had spectacular regular seasons, both nearing 5,000 yards with loads of touchdowns. Romo had the chance to bury Eli, and did his part before the Cowboys putrid defense let Eli win a game the Giants had no business winning.
But the Giants won, and won, and won. And the Giants throttled Romo and the Cowboys in Week 17's loser-go-home regular-season finale which put the Giants in the postseason.
Now, they're once again a win away from a Super Bowl championship with that same New England Patriots team standing in their way.
Manning was phenomenal on Sunday in the Giants' overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers. He finished the night 32-of-58 passing for 316 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions even though he was beaten to a pulp and sacked six times.
That performance cemented what Manning had been claiming since preseason, when he said he felt he was an elite quarterback, right up there with guys like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and his brother, Peyton. People laughed. People scoffed. But look who's laughing now.
Aside from Brady, Manning has a chance in two weeks to win his second championship before any of those guys. And most importantly, he's not a bus driver anymore.
So accept it Cowboys fans, your quarterback is better than good. But the Giants' is great.