Eli Manning‘s impact on the New York Giants franchise was legendary. He dedicated his entire career to the organization and led the team to two Super Bowl victories. Manning will have his jersey retired during the Giants’ Week 3 game against the Atlanta Falcons. Does he belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Not everyone is convinced, including Stephen A Smith.
Eli Manning is a New York Giants legend
The New York Giants acquired Eli Manning after the San Diego Chargers selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss. Not only was he the top pick in the draft, but he was also the younger brother of Peyton Manning and son of Archie Manning.
There was plenty of pressure on Manning’s shoulders and intrigue surrounding how he would perform given his last name.
Manning turned some heads during his sophomore campaign after a lackluster 1-6 record in seven starts during his rookie season. He threw for 3,762 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also threw 17 interceptions, and his completion percentage was nothing to write home about. However, that’s not uncommon for a young quarterback.
Manning spent 15 seasons with the Giants, passing for 57,023 yards and 366 touchdowns to 244 interceptions.
The New Orleans native earned four Pro Bowl selections and led New York on two historic Super Bowl runs. He was named Super Bowl MVP in 2007 and 2011.
Manning is currently top 10 in the NFL in multiple categories for his career, including passing touchdowns, passing yards, and game-winning drives.
Stephen A Smith says Manning is not a Hall of Famer
Despite all of the accolades Eli Manning has achieved, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is not sold on the idea of the Giants great being a surefire Hall of Fame selection.
Smith expressed his thoughts on the debate on First Take. The show’s host, Molly Qerim-Rose, rattled off a list of Manning’s accomplishments and said he’s a Hall of Famer. Smith responded candidly.
“No, he’s not,” he said. “I love Eli. I’m very happy that he’s getting his jersey retired…but when I look at Eli Manning, based on his resume, I don’t see a Hall of Famer.”
Smith acknowledged that Manning accomplished some remarkable feats, but he also pointed out some flaws in the numbers. He completed just 60% of passes for his career and has a career record of 117-117. He also noted that the Giants missed the playoffs and had a losing record several seasons under Manning’s leadership.
“He’s a Manning who’s a two-time Super Bowl champion, so he’ll probably get in,” Smith admitted.
The ESPN personality believes Eli Manning’s last name will serve as the golden ticket to get him into Canton.
Eli Manning deserves consideration to be in the Hall of Fame
Eli Manning is not a clear-cut selection for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t get in. He deserves strong consideration.
Numbers don’t always tell the entire story. Manning was a leader on the field, and he displayed great poise in numerous high-pressure situations.
In 2011, the Giants signal-caller tied the league record for most fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a single season with 15. The same season, he led eight game-winning drives, which also tied an NFL record. Not to mention, he pulled off two improbable Super Bowl wins over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Manning was also reliable and durable. He started 210 consecutive games, which tied for ninth-most in NFL history. Unfortunately, the streak was cut short when the Giants started Geno Smith over him.
Manning’s final seasons in New York weren’t the best way to exit the game. Still, it’s hard to overlook his impact on the game. Daniel Jones’ early struggles only make his predecessor look even better.
Eli Manning probably shouldn’t be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. However, as Stephen A Smith said, his last name will almost certainly guarantee him a spot in Canton.