Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Has Eli Manning Established Hall of Fame Credentials With Second Super Bowl Win; MVP?

Kurt Warner, who knows a thing or two about winning Super Bowls, seems to think that NY Giant Eli Manning hasn't quite made the case to be in the Hall of Fame.

For the moment
, I think he's right.

Two rings and two Super Bowl MVPs plus the rest of Manning's numbers definitely put him in the discussion for the NFL Hall of Fame, but don't mean he's a sure thing.

Just ask Jim Plunkett.

Plunkett won two Super Bowls with the LA Raiders, but he still needs to buy a ticket to get into Canton. Manning, if he plays at the level he did this year for the next few years, could find a space saved for him there. If he keeps his interception rate down, maintains his completion rate and accuracy on his long throws, then he'd be in the discussion both on the strength of his regular season numbers plus what he's done in the postseason.

After all, Manning has set all manner of records in the postseason. He's won seven straight road/neutral games. He's had several stirring come-from-behind wins in that stretch, including twice in the Super Bowl. He's led the Giants through some of the toughest competition to get to the Super Bowl this year, including wins over the number 1 and 2 seeds in the NFL plus the top seed in the AFC.

Yet, his statistics until the 2011 season were not quite Hall of Fame material. If Manning puts another couple of seasons together like he did this year, he cements his legacy as a Hall of Famer. If he does that, he might make it on the first ballot.

If he has a few more average seasons, with 18-20 interceptions to go along with 25 touchdowns, then he'd still have a good shot of getting in, but it would not be a sure thing. Someone would inevitably point to his uneven regular seasons as proof he's not Hall of Fame material.

I'm sure that Manning would love to put together another couple of years like this - particularly the outcome - and end all doubt about his credentials and career.

The thing is, that compared with his peers, he's certainly in the Hall of Fame discussion. That discussion starts with Tom Brady, with his three rings in five chances. It also includes Ben Roethlisberger, who has also won two rings. For Roethlisberger, his statistics are in good company:
He currently ranks 10th all-time in NFL passer rating (92.9), 5th in yards per attempt (8.06), and 11th in completion percentage (63.24%) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 1,500 career attempts. He has the fourth highest career winning percentage (.710) as a starter in the regular season among quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 starts.
Manning, by comparison, has a lower NFL passer rating, lower yards per attempt, lower completion percentage. Yet, he's done something that none of his other peers have done - and that's outplay Brady - the best quarterback of our generation - twice in the Super Bowl.

This is one discussion that I'm sure will be revisited in the next few years, particularly if we see a few more of these.

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