The New York Giants have been outscored by 32 points over their two losses to start the season, a 35-17 defeat in Dallas and then falling to the Bills at home 28-14. A trip to Tampa Bay is on the horizon, but instead of Eli Manning leading the offense, the Giants have handed it over to rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, the sixth overall pick in the draft.
Ben McAdoo was chastised for benching Manning in 2017. But the reality of it is that McAdoo was correct in his decision and Manning has been holding this team back for a few seasons now. Moving to Jones is the right decision and should give Giants fans a new hope for the future. A change had to be made.
Manning has a fantastic legacy and lived up to being the first overall pick back in 2004, a draft that will always be remembered for a trio of great quarterbacks. Philip Rivers was actually selected by the Giants with the fourth overall selection and a historical trade was made after Manning refused to play for San Diego. Of course the Steelers selected Ben Roethlisberger with the 11th overall draft pick and these three are forever linked. Only five passers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Tom Brady and Dan Marino has thrown for more yards than these three from the Class of 2004. Roethlisberger, Rivers and Manning rank sixth through eighth respectively on this illustrious list, but it appears as if only Rivers will be adding to his totals in 2019.
For different reasons, Roethlisberger also is no longer his team’s starter. Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls and has appeared in another. He will one day be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Rivers doesn’t own a Super Bowl ring, but he too is a deserved Hall of Famer, although that one is more debatable. But what about Manning’s chances of enshrinement?
Manning will likely end up getting inducted in the Hall of Fame someday. Like Roethlisberger, he has led two Super Bowl winning teams. He has accumulated an awful lot of passing yards. Like his big brother, Manning was remarkably durable and never missed games, often playing through injury. Even to the end, Manning was very difficult to get off the field. He has thrown 362 touchdown passes, which ranks eighth all time. Those are very strong arguments in Manning’s favor.
But Manning isn’t a deserved Hall of Fame player. He’s had an excellent career, but not one that is Hall of Fame worthy. To go along with his 362 touchdowns, Manning has also thrown 241 interceptions; only 13 quarterbacks have thrown more and in three different seasons, no one in the league threw more than Manning. Many site Manning as a great winner, but if quarterback wins are truly an individual stat, how can it be overlooked that he has won exactly games as he lost as New York’s starter. The Giants are 116-116 with Manning as their quarterback during the regular season.
This one isn’t as quantifiable, but was Manning ever one of the top handful of players at his position at any point of his career? Was Manning a Top 10 type of quarterback in his prime? Sure, but was he ever Top 3 or even Top 5? The answer to that answer is no.
Also, while Manning’s career passing stats are impressive, the game has just changed so much that anyone playing in this era drastically shot past great Hall of Fame quarterbacks from years gone by numbers in passing yards. Also, we shouldn’t overlook that Manning did zero as a runner. Of course that isn’t close to the most important attribute of quarterbacking, but not one defense that Manning faced was concerned about him beating them with his legs.
Winning two Super Bowls is tremendous and it is Manning’s strongest argument for someday getting enshrined. But this is a team game and the Giants won those championships at least as much with defense than with great quarterbacking. Jim Plunkett won two Super Bowls. Also, while the Giants have won eight of the dozen playoff games that Manning has quarterbacked, in those games New York averages just 19.3 points per contest.
Manning has had an excellent career, but he has been one of the league’s worst starting quarterbacks over the past few seasons. He has had some fantastic and unforgettable moments and probably will end up with in the Hall of Fame someday. But Manning wasn’t one of the top players at his position this generation and really belongs in the Hall of Very Good.
Does Eli Manning deserve to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
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