Eli Manning inside the Giants locker room at the Giants...

Eli Manning inside the Giants locker room at the Giants mini camp. (June 14, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

If you thought the where-Eli-Manning-stands debates were over, shame on you. A week after teammate Chris Canty called Manning the best quarterback in the league, former Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer said Tony Romo is “probably” better than the Giants signal-caller.

“Tony Romo is probably – if you look at him statistically – he's probably the best quarterback in the NFC East,” Toomer said on Sirius/XM NFL Radio on Thursday. “I mean, you look at Eli Manning and what he does in the fourth quarter. But you talk about consistency; talk about 31 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. That guy can play.”

Manning last season had the edge on Romo in passing yards (4,933 to 4,184), but Romo bettered him in all other major statistical categories. Romo’s 102.5 QB rating ranked fourth in the NFL last season, and Manning’s 92.9 was seventh best. For their careers, Romo has a 96.9 rating in 99 games and Manning is at 82.1 in 122 games. However, the Giants did win both head-to-head matchups against the Cowboys last year, en route to Manning’s second Super Bowl.

The two squared off once in the playoffs, with Manning leading the Giants to a 21-17 win over the Cowboys in the Divisional Round in 2007-08. In that game, Manning went 12-for-18 with 163 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Romo was 18-for-36 with 201 yards and a touchdown. He threw an interception to R.W. McQuarters in the end zone with nine seconds left, which sealed the win for the Giants. Toomer, in that game, had four catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

“For me, if I wanted a guy that is going to throw less interceptions, [be] more productive, higher completion percentage, I'm going to go with Tony Romo,” said Toomer, who played five seasons with Manning before retiring after 2008. “At crunch time, he's not as good as Eli, but every other time, he's pretty darn good.”

Romo, to his credit, did refute the perception of him being a poor late-game quarterback last season. He went 91-for-148 with 1,215 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in the fourth quarters. Manning, though, set an NFL record with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes in the regular season.

Toomer holds Giants career record with 9,497 receiving yards and is second all-time with 668 receptions. The level of vitriol likely headed his way won’t come close to matching what Tiki Barber received after criticizing Manning’s leadership skills in 2007, but Toomer’s comments will probably irk some Giants fans.

Of note: ESPN’s Ron Jaworski has Manning ranked ahead of Romo in his running “QB Countdown” on the network. Romo was slotted 10th and Manning is among the five quarterbacks yet to be ranked. Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees will make up Jaworski’s top five.

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