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If Eli Manning Gets Inducted, You're Gonna Need a Bigger Hall

Eli Manning

I’ll state the obvious, right from the cold opening here. For me with Eli Manning, it’s personal. The runt of the Manning Litter had two good months over the course of nine seasons. And both of them cost the Patriots a banner. He won those two Super Bowls because he deserved to win. He outplayed Tom Brady. These thoughts haunt my every step. I’ve never gotten over those losses. And it’s only through a lot of self-therapy (and self medication) that I’ve been able to talk about the pain in a constructive way that helps my healing process. I’m glad I’ve had that breakthrough and I can share.

Now with that as preamble, people are not only saying Eli belongs in the Hall of Fame, but that he’s a first ballot? That it’s not even a question? We just put him in with no debate? I have no quarrels with Gary Myers. We’ve plugged each other’s books and he’s a good reporter. I just chose his Tweet because I think it’s indicative of the attitude around New York and the football world. That those two wins are enough to qualify him for Canton regardless of the rest of his career. Of his numbers. And his record.

Wow. I had no idea that was the standard. That two Super Bowls gets you in automatically, like 3,000 hits or 500 home runs. So I guess we can vote Jim Plunkett in right now then. Just for starters.

I’ve said before I am all about the NFL Hall using postseason success. I don’t want it to just be like MLB where it’s all about your Baseball Reference page. Like I wrote when Rodney Harrison said Patriots players aren’t getting consideration that deserve it, guys like Troy Brown, Lynn Swann (237th all time in Receiving Yards) and Terrell Davis (78 career games) are in almost exclusively for winning multiple Super Bowls while guys like Rodney, Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown and Deion Branch aren’t.

So if that’s the standard for Canton, that’s the standard. Personally I think in that being a .500 career quarterback is disqualifying. Because if you are good enough for football Valhalla, there’s no way you don’t win more games than you lose at a position that critical to success. But to be fair, Joe Namath is in at 62-63-4. Which is why to me he is the placeholder. The least deserving player to be enshrined. The “Shakespeare in Love” Best Picture winner of football.

It’s just that, if Eli does get in, let’s not pretend it’s for any reason other than those two four-game stretches in 2008 and ’12. It’s not for any sustained postseason success. In 16 seasons he made six trips to the playoffs and was one-and-done the other four times. It wasn’t for anything he did in the regular season. Other than cracking the Top 10 in some cumulative stats:

–Touchdowns: 8th all time
–Yards: 7th all time
–Passer Rating: 45th all time (between Mark Brunell and Joe Flacco)
–Interceptions: The most among all active QBs
–Interception %: 50th best all time. 24th best among active QBs.
–Has led the league in a category three times. All three were Most Interceptions

If you’re making him immortal on the strength of that resume, knock yourselves out. Just don’t kid yourselves. He’s in not because of how good he’s been, but just because of who he beat.