On August 16th,2011, Eli Manning was asked a simple question. Unknown to him, it would ignite a debate that still lingers at the watercooler today. The question was, does Eli consider himself to be in the same class as Tom Brady? His answer was simple, “I consider myself in that class”. The obvious answer was no, even back in 2011. Eli is not in the same tier as Tom Brady. But nor is any other quarterback playing today and even a select few in the leagues history. But who is Eli Manning, and what does he do?
Elite, GOAT, or HoF
The term elite has now cycled through the mainstream and has morphed into Greatest of All Time, or GOAT for short. There will never truly be a GOAT because the subject is too subjective. People hold different statistical categories higher than others. Statistics like wins, yards, touchdowns and interceptions are the most common. There are many fans who think championships are the end-all-be-all for a great quarterback. The ring talk is garbage, because it’s a team accomplishment. But, different statistics are can skew to one side side of the argument or another. If you are worth your salt in football knowledge you should know that Eli is a great quarterback. People who say Eli sucks are normally bias NFC East fans who can’t see past their own ignorance. Or they are Patriots fans who are offended Eli made those comments in the first place and went on to prove it by beating their beloved Tom Brady in the Super Bowl for a second time. Taking everything into consideration, Eli is a Hall of Fame quarterback and here’s why.
As it stands right now, Eli Manning owns every New York Giants passing record in the books. There are only three Giant quarterbacks in the HOF, and only one was with the Giants more than five years (Tarkenton – 6). The next closest statistical Giant quarterback is Phil Simms who many believe should enter the hall at some point. Simms’ ranks top 50 all-time in yards (31st), attempts (32nd), completions (41st) and touchdowns (41st). Where does Manning rank in these same categories all-time? How about attempts (7th), completions (7th), Yards (8th), touchdowns (7th). For people who are driven by regular season statistics, then Eli should be a no-brainer for the HOF since he is top ten in every category. Eli’s not a first ballot guy, those are reserved for once-in-a-lifetime players like Favre, Peyton and Brady.
Wins and Rings
With a regular season record of 108 – 91, Eli averages just 8.3 wins per season but the total makes him 9th all-time. Wins are a hard statistic to judge because the quarterback only plays on one side of the ball. For example, in 2015 Eli gave his defense the lead 5 times with two minutes or less in the game and lost each game. This would have turned a 6-10 season into 11-5 with a division title. It just so happens the Giants addressed that issue and went 11-5 in the following 2016 season. Looking at Eli’s career when the defense can’t hold a lead in the final quarter, he orchestrated 30 fourth quarter comebacks and 39 came winning drives which ties him with Brett Favre for 7th all-time. In 2011 alone Eli had an NFL record seven comebacks and one game winning drive in the regular season. So, if wins total is the rating of choice or even rings for that matter, Eli should in the conversation. More than one quarter of his wins are from behind and he owns two Super Bowl rings with two Super Bowl MVPs to boot.
So, who is Eli Manning?
Eli Manning is a quarterback that will start all 16 games, throw for over 3700 yards and 25 touchdowns. He will complete 60% of his passes and throw more than his fair share of interceptions. A stat that the people in the Eli sucks camp will hang their hat on. He is currently 21st all-time in career interceptions and it would take Eli averaging 25 interceptions a season for the next 5 seasons to reach #1. Something his has done only twice in his career. This would also mean Eli would play until he is 41 years old. Regardless, Eli will end his career in the top 5 for career interceptions, sandwiched in between names like Brett Favre, George Blanda and Fran Tarkenton. Giants fans know this and frankly do not care. Eli is the type of quarterback that can look like complete garbage for one half and a Hall of Fame QB in the second half. One thing is for certain, he always seems to have the Giants in the game at the end. Eli Manning already has a Hall-of-Fame resume, the numbers, wins and longevity speak for themselves. No matter what statistical category you hold high, Eli Manning is in conversation for every one of them.