IF Eli has great protection, IF Eli has a good running game, IF Eli has WR's that create separation, he is Elite. Well so would many, many other QB's. I have always said that Eli needs really good players around him, to fulfill the scenario we just described.
Is that "elite"? A guy who has to have these specific conditions around him to succeed? My view is no. Others clearly disagree.
Now lets look at Phil. Despite the claims to the contrary, Phil spent most of his career getting killed due to a horrific O line. To me, only Davis Carr has been hit more often than Phil in NFL history. Phil had below average pass catchers. The list of mediocrity at the WR position is troubling. He did have Bavaro who was great, but when Phil threw for 4000 yards, he didn't have Bavaro. He didn't have a single guy catch 50 balls.
Ultimately the conditions on the ground matter. Eli has had two generations of outstanding pass catchers. He has had much better O line protection. In other words, Phil did it with far, far less. In my view, he was simply better. Not just because of these factors, but because of his raw ability and skill level to play the game. Phil was just a better passer, had a better release, was a better field general. And Eli's "bad" is really, really bad. Phil was never as bad as we've seen the past 4 weeks.
This topic will be argued by Giants fans forever. It will never be resolved. But hopefully when the agenda's are put away, a more calm and intelligent debate can be had.