With this being Pro Football Hall of Fame Weekend, let’s turn to the New York Giants roster and look at the Hall of Fame enshrinement chances of players on the current roster. The only two players with legitimate paths to the Hall at present are Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr., so let’s debate their Hall worthiness.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell recently projected the Hall of Fame chances for players on every NFL roster. Barnwell, as do I, sees Manning and Beckham as the only two candidates from the Giants. Here is how he breaks down their chances, along with some of my thoughts.
Eli Manning (40 percent)
Barnwell: Eli Manning might make the Hall of Fame, which is going to infuriate a lot of people. On numbers alone, Eli shouldn't be there. He has made four Pro Bowls, and while he has put together a very nice second peak after the arrival of Ben McAdoo, nobody who watches Manning on a week-to-week basis thinks that he looks like a Hall of Famer by any stretch of the imagination. The basis for his candidacy, then, is winning two Super Bowl MVP awards in victories over the Patriots, and Manning will get bonus credit for beating the previously undefeated 2007 Patriots. (The memories of Eli nearly throwing the game away with an interception on the play before the Helmet Catch have already mostly disappeared.) The list of guys who have won Super Bowl MVP two or more times includes Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Bart Starr. They're all in (or will be in) the Hall of Fame. I'd also argue that Eli doesn't belong on a tier with those passers because of what they all did in the other hundreds of games they each played over the course of their respective careers. I wouldn't vote for him, but some will.
Valentine’s View: After the second Super Bowl title of Manning’s career I would have argued that Manning was on a career arc that would make him a near-certain Hall of Famer. After four playoff-less seasons, though, the case is much harder to make. The remaining arc of Manning’s career will, in my mind, tell the story. If the Giants remain mired in mediocrity, or worse, Manning won’t make it regardless of his individual stats. If the Giants become a consistent playoff team and Manning puts up big numbers, or if the Giants win a third Super Bowl with him at the helm, it will be hard to keep him out of the Hall.
Odell Beckham Jr. (50 percent)
Barnwell: Odell Beckham Jr. is playing in a pass-happy era, but when you compare his first two seasons to every other wideout in league history, Beckham tops everyone in receiving yards (2,755) and is second in receptions and third in receiving touchdowns -- and he missed five games. Beckham is averaging 102.0 receiving yards per game, and the guy in second place -- Randy Moss -- averaged 85 yards in his first two years. He has been as good as any wide receiver in league history through two seasons, and that's without even considering the catch.
Valentine’s View: You can’t make the Hall of Fame off of two great seasons — even if they are historically great like Beckham’s were. Beckham certainly looks like he is on a Hall of Fame path, but there is a long way to go in his career and a lot of obstacles in his path. Injuries. Off-the-field distractions. His own tendency to let his emotions runs wild. If Beckham continues to be Beckham on the field he will easily build a Hall of Fame resume. Let’s not start carving his bust just yet, though.