Well folks, it’s that time of the year again. The season is officially over, the Super Bowl Champion has been crowned, and it’s time to discuss how the result of that game will affect the players who played in its legacies. The big debate that has started this year is if this Super Bowl win puts Matthew Stafford in the Hall of Fame. Whenever a debate like this starts, Eli Manning always seems to take some ricochet shots.
“If Eli gets in, then (insert QB name) should definitely get in.”
“He shouldn’t get in, and neither should Eli.”
“It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Mediocre Players.”
Everyyyyyy year we hear about this debate. I’m give it to you plain and simple:
Eli Manning is Going to the Hall of Fame, and I’ll tell you why.
The first and most obvious reason Eli Manning will be going to Canton is that he is a 2-time Super Bowl MVP and he defeated perhaps the greatest dynasty in the history of football TWICE whilst doing it. Now this is where people who didn’t really watch Eli play will go, “His defense carried him.” I’ll sit here and admit that the 2007 Giants defense was a huge part in them going to the Super Bowl, but stop acting like Eli was some sort of problem on that team. He led the team to 3 4th quarter comebacks on that playoff run and won the damn MVP in the Super Bowl. Now, let me make this very clear: 2011 was a completely different story. Eli Manning CARRIED the Giants to a Super Bowl Victory in 2011. Eli had his best year in the league (4,933 yards, 29 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 92 passer rating, 8 4th quarter comebacks including playoffs) while he had the 27th ranked defense (yardage wise), and the 31st ranked offensive line according to PFF. So you can take your “carried by his defense” take and shove it right up your you know what. Oh, and please don’t hit me with the, “Well if he didn’t have his 2 Super Bowl MVP’s then he wouldn’t be a Hall of Famer.” That’s not a valid argument. If Tom Brady wasn’t basically number 1 in every passing category and didn’t have 7 Super Bowls he wouldn’t be a Hall of Famer either. The fact of the matter is that Eli did win 2 Super Bowl MVPs. As the great Nicky Snacks once said,
“If my Aunt had balls, she would be my motherf****** Uncle.”
The Super Bowls are his most obvious argument, but why don’t we look at the rest of Eli’s career numbers? When he retired he ranked 7th all time in passing yards, 7th in passing touchdowns, 10th in 4th quarter comebacks, and was 2nd all-time in consecutive starts by a Quarterback. Everyone’s argument against this is that longevity shouldn’t matter in a Hall of Fame debate. Ummmmm yes it should. If a player was to come around and have two great years and then fall off, we’re not going to put him in the hall of fame are we? Eli Manning was the starting Quarterback for the Giants for 16 years. In 3 years of Daniel Jones we have yet to see the guy play a full season. It’s unbelievable that Eli was able to stay on the field that consistently.
“Yeah but how many of those years was he really a top 5 or top 10 quarterback in the league?”
More than you think! From 2008-2015 (throw in 2005) I would argue Eli Manning was a top 10-15 quarterback in the NFL, and 2011 and 2015 he was top 5. Not that I think Pro Bowls really matter, but he is also a 4x Pro Bowler. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment is winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. I know that really shouldn’t be a determining factor, but it is worth mentioning in this discussion, especially since we have seen how negative off the field attention has kept other players out of the Hall of Fame. Despite all of these stats backing up Eli Manning’s Hall of Fame resume, people still want to say they were never impressed by him. It’s a good thing those people don’t run the Hall of Fame. Don’t worry though, I’ll throw the Anti-Eli crowd a bone.
Look, I’m the biggest Eli Manning fan there is. He has given me some of the best memories of my life and I would go to war for the guy. But he’s not Tom Brady, he’s not his brother, and he’s not Aaron Rodgers. He twice led the league in interceptions and has just a .500 career record. This backs up the crowd that calls him a mediocre QB. This is why I think the debate that should be going on is if Eli is a first ballot Hall of Famer. Personally, I think he is, but there is an argument against it. That argument is largely based off the interception statistic and the fact that the back half of Eli’s career is filled with losing. I laid out all the reasons why Eli deserves to be in Canton, but I’m not blind to the fact that he had his flaws, so I wouldn’t be completely shocked if he didn’t get in right away.
I can’t wait for the day Eli Manning is inducted into the Hall of Fame. I am going to do everything in my power to be there that day. Even him being in the Hall of Fame won’t stop the lifelong debate of if he deserves to be there. The debate shouldn’t be if he deserves to get in, it should be if he deserves to get in as a first ballot Hall of Famer. Only time will tell, but there is no question number 10 will one day go to Canton.
And uh, for the record…he’s first ballot.
(Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)