Literally speaking, the first three letters of elite are E-L-I-. But, we’re not talking about spelling here. That was just so we can bring back the old chat about whether or not Eli Manning was an elite quarterback, and the joke of the beginning of his name matching up with the spelling of the word elite.
This article is about Eli Manning’s case as a potential Hall of Fame quarterback. Was he good enough? Are two Super Bowls enough to overlook all of his other struggles? Read on, and I’ll let you know what I personally think about the matter.
The Case for Eli Manning
As stated above, Eli led the Giants to not one, but two Super Bowl victories. In both of them, they defeated Tom Brady and the Patriots. And in both of the games, we saw some magic from the wide receivers. It was David Tyree’s helmet catch in 2007, and Mario Manningham’s sideline grab in 2011.
Eli is one of two quarterbacks (Ben Roethlisberger) from the 2004 draft class that has won two Super Bowls. He had to win four games in both years that they won the Super Bowl, as the team’s records (10-6, 9-7) were not good enough to net the team bye weeks. The numbers that Manning put up in those two playoff runs are incredible.
If you combine 2007 and 2011, Eli’s playoff stats are as follows: 15 TD passes, two INT’s, 63% completion. He was fantastic, simply put. Extremely clutch performances.
Eli’s career regular-season accolades include 57,000 passing yards, four Pro-Bowl selections, and six seasons of throwing for 4,000-plus yards. He helped the Giants to six playoff appearances in 15 years at the helm.
The Case Against Eli Manning
For all of the good things I can say about Eli Manning, there is also plenty of bad. In 13 of his 15 seasons as a starter, the team failed to advance in the playoffs. In 2013, he threw a league-high 27 interceptions. He had 244 interceptions in his career to 366 TD passes, giving him a weak 2-1 TD-INT ratio.
In five of his final six years as a starter, the Giants had a losing record. The exception was 2016, when the team went 11-5. That team fell apart right before their game with Green Bay though, with all of the skill-position players choosing to just party on a boat instead of preparing. The next few years were nothing put pure stank for the Giants.
Eli’s record isn’t doing him any favors, either. 117 wins is very impressive, as the majority of QB’s don’t even get the chance to start that many games.. But, Manning also had 117 losses. A .500 record is not exactly endearing, when you consider some of the other players fighting for those Hall of Fame spots.
While it’s hard to count longevity against somebody, Manning’s career was extremely unimpressive over his final seven seasons. He had a record of 39-60. He was even unceremoniously benched by Ben McAdoo (in a highly controversial decision) in favor of Geno Smith during the horrid 2017 season.
So, Does Eli Get in or What?
If you look at Eli Manning’s career as a whole, there are some great highs. The two Super-Bowl titles, a pair of 30+ TD pass seasons. 117 wins. Four selections to the Pro Bowl.
You can also look at the negatives. A 39-60 record in his final seven years. 244 interceptions. A 2-1 TD-INT ratio. In 13 of 15 of his seasons as a starter, they didn’t win a game in the playoffs.
While it’s very difficult to truly decide if he’s worthy of getting in, I’ll answer it right now. If I was on the voting committee, I’d probably put him in. But it will take a few years of his name being on the ballot before he gets the nod.
Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger are very likely headed to Canton as well, marking three QB’s from the 2004 class getting in.
Manning won multiple Super Bowls. He outshined Tom Brady on the big stage twice. The fact that he spent 16 years total in the league will be enough to push him in.
Make sure to follow Eli on Twitter. He’s a comedic genius on the keyboard.