By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
The retirement of Giants great Eli Manning might not have come as a surprise for many of us; but once Eli Manning gives his retirement speech on Friday, I think it will really hit home that Giant fans will never watch #10 ever again in a Giants uniform.
Manning’s 16-year career arguably puts him squarely on the top of the list of the greatest offensive player in Giants’ history; perhaps edging out Frank Gifford as the top seed. Manning’s career numbers is definitely Hall of Fame worthy (57,023 yards), (366 touchdowns) and 60.3% completions. Let’s not forget that Manning never missed a game due to an injury and his 210 consecutive starts ranks third all-time behind Philip Rivers and Brett Favre’s.
However; what set Manning apart and what will eventually get him into the Hall of Fame was his performances during the playoffs. Manning had an 8-4 record in playoffs, but a closer look at those 8 wins really tells the story and defines Manning’s legacy in the NFL. Manning went into Lambeau Field twice and beat Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers to advance to the Super Bowl. Manning beat Tom Brady twice (2-0) on the biggest stage of all in the Super Bowl; with both wins come from behind fashion.
Many Eli Manning non-supporters will argue that his 117-117 career .500 record will tarnish his chances into the Hall of Fame? Keep in mind, how much control did Manning have with the assembling of the roster during his career? For the majority of Manning’s career as a Giant, he had two GM’s; Ernie Accorsi (1998-2006 and Jerry Reese (2007-2017). Ernie Accorsi knew the emphasis of having a solid offensive line in front of Manning, and through his selections of compiling an offensive line the Giants had a 77-51 record. Once Reese inherited the position, his emphasis shifted gears and the importance of having a solid offensive line in front of Manning was not as important as Reese focused more on skilled players throughout his GM tenure with the Giants; which reflected in the Giants record being 39-60 during this time.
For me, the overall record shouldn’t be a factor in determining if a player is Hall of Fame worthy or not as there are many Hall of Famers currently with career losing records. (Most notably Joe Namath and Sonny Jorgensen). Manning is not Peyton or Favre or even any of the current quarterbacks in the league like Brady, Brees or Rodgers. However; that shouldn’t be the reason why many believe he isn’t a Hall of Famer.
Manning will get into the Hall of Fame simply because he performed when it matters the most. Two Super Bowls, Two Super Bowl MVP’s. An 8-4 playoff record and winning games in the toughest settings (Lambeau Field) and beating arguably the greatest team in NFL history twice in the New England Patriots and Tom Brady, who is arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history. So does Eli Manning belong in the Hall of Fame? For me, he most certainly does.