Eli Manning: Pros and Cons of Hall of Fame Case

He will likely get in on the first ballot, but you never know with Hall of Fame voters

It definitely felt like we were watching the retirement of a future Hall of Famer when Eli Manning announced his departure from the game on Jan. 22. The New York Giants appreciate the significance as well and have already announced that they will retire his No. 10 jersey.

 

Five years from now, it is highly likely that Manning will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, voters can be fickle and he had his detractors throughout his career. Here are the pros and cons when it comes to Manning's HOF case.

 

Pros

 

1. His statistics are bonafide

Much of the fans' and sportswriters' attention over the years have been focused on Drew Brees and Tom Brady surpassing the career records of Manning's brother, Peyton. However, the younger Manning's career numbers are nothing to sneeze at. He is currently seventh in career passing yards (57,023), touchdowns (366), and completions (4,895). Those numbers put him ahead of 25 quarterbacks already in the Hall of Fame.

 

2. He is a two-time Super Bowl MVP

Manning played some of his best football in the postseason and won two Super Bowls against the New England Patriots in games that were akin to a knife fight in a ditch. His performance was the key to both wins and he was named Super Bowl MVP twice. The only other players with multiple Super Bowl MVP awards are Bart Starr (two), Terry Bradshaw (two), Joe Montana (three), and Tom Brady (four). Starr, Bradshaw, and Montana were first-ballot Hall of Famers, and Brady certainly will be as well.

 

3. His timing is great

It ain't the Oscars, but Hall of Fame inductees need to be well-positioned with the voters and Manning definitely is. With Brees, Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Larry Fitzgerald continuing to play, Manning will be the best offensive player up for consideration five years from now. Not only will he be inducted, but he will likely get in on the first ballot.

 

Cons

 

Note: I think Manning will be inducted in his first year of eligibility, but if he is not, here are three potential reasons why.

 

1. His career had periods of inconsistency

For a player who started 210 straight games, Manning was not always steady. His Giants missed the playoffs in eight of the 14 seasons in which he was the primary starter and he led the league in interceptions thrice. While his career experienced amazing highs, there were some very low points.

 

2. Other Super Bowl MVPs are not in the Hall of Fame

Winning a Super Bowl MVP award does not guarantee you a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Just ask Jim Plunkett, Phil Simms, Doug Williams, and Mark Rypien. Manning's two MVPs and stats are on another level than those four, but nothing is guaranteed until the votes are tallied.

 

3. Sports media loves to rag on him

Manning's low-key demeanor often prompted the New York media to imply that he took an "Aw shucks" approach to the game, especially when compared to Peyton. It got to a point where one expected Manning to turn to a reporter and say, "Hey, I watch game film too." That issue seems to be put to rest, but if it resurfaces when he's eligible for election, it could be problematic for him.

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

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