Pallas: Eli Manning Doesn’t Belong in Pro Football Hall of Fame

Pallas: Eli Manning Doesn’t Belong in Pro Football Hall of Fame

by January 23, 2020 0 comments

So, the end is upon us. Eli Manning will announce his retirement from the NFL after 19 years.

Now comes the inevitable talk that comes with every quarterback of Eli Manning’s stature. Does he belong among the greats to ever play the game? Does he belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

The answer is no, and let’s examine why.

Case for the Hall of Fame

When he announces his retirement, he will have the following records to his credit:

  • 57,023 passing yards (seventh all-time)
  • 366 passing touchdowns (seventh all-time)
  • Two-time Super Bowl MVP
  • 210 consecutive starts (third all-time)

All of those certainly make him look like a great quarterback. He has the numbers and the durability to make the case for donning a gold jacket one day. Although, it may take a while given who’s not in the Hall of Fame yet.

Case for exclusion from the Hall of Fame

Some would say his numbers weren’t a result of him being an all-time great quarterback. He only completed 60.3 percent of his passes, and that case is justified. Some would say his numbers were a result of simply playing in the number of games he did and throwing it as much as he did. So, there could be the notion that “of course he put up the numbers” based on the number of times he threw the ball, and that’s justified.

Having two Super Bowl wins shouldn’t be an automatic inclusion into this illustrious group of what is now 279 players, 23 coaches, and 24 contributors. For his era, many could say Jim Plunkett put up similar numbers to Eli Manning, and he has two Super Bowl wins as well. Despite that, he’s not in the Hall of Fame. So, two Super Bowls wins isn’t the Pro Football Hall of Fame equivalent to 300 wins, 3,000 hits, or 500 home runs.

Manning started 234 total games in his career for the Giants. He posted 117 wins and 117 losses, for a precisely .500 record. That would be the lowest winning percentage of any quarterback who played his entire career in the Super Bowl era. While you can’t pin wins and losses all on the shoulders of the quarterback, he certainly didn’t do enough to help turn that around to an above-.500 record.

The Associated Press has been handing out the All-Pro designation since 1940. Other publications have also given the designation. Manning was never given First- or Second-Team All-Pro designation by the AP, nor was he ever awarded All-Pro designation by any other publication in his career. That means he wasn’t deemed the best quarterback in any season in which he played. He’d be the first quarterback since the award was established to not be deemed the best by the AP, Pro Football Writers Association, Sporting News, Pro Football Focus, or USA Today. If you’re not the best in any one season of your era, can you be considered one of the best ever?

In the end, there isn’t enough to justify inclusion in the illustrious group. Manning had his ups and downs, but his positives don’t outweigh his negatives enough to be included among the greatest players ever to don an NFL uniform.

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