Ben Baldwin posed an interesting question this morning. If you had one Hall of Fame vote and had to choose, who gets your vote? Eli Manning or Frank Gore?
It's a good question because if we're being honest, neither would get our votes but both of them probably will make it. Hall of Pretty Good? Absolutely. Hall of Durability? Come right in! Hall of Fame?? Lemme stop you right there, fellas. Tale of the Tape time.
- 2x Super Bowl champion, 2x Super Bowl MVP (2007, 2011)
- 4x Pro Bowler (2008, 2011, 2012, 2015)
- 6th in passes attempted, 7th all-time in passes completed, passing yards and touchdowns, 12th in interceptions thrown and 13th in 4Q comebacks, 45th in QB rating
- 5-year peak (2008-12) average season: 4,028 yards 27 TDs to 16 INTs, 61.3 completion percentage, 89.1 QB Rating on 7.6 YPA. 60% winning percentage
- 12 career playoff games (8-4): 2815 yards 18 TDs to 9 INTs, 60.5 completion percentage, 87.4 QB Rating on 7.04 YPA
- 52nd in all-time games played (non-kicker or punter): 236 games. This is 9th all-time for quarterbacks only.
- 5x Pro Bowler (2006, 2009, 2011-13), 1x All-Pro (Second Team- 2006)
- 3rd in rushing attempts and yards, 21st in rushing touchdowns, 73rd all-time in YPC (4.3)
- 26th in receptions for a RB, 33rd in receiving yards for a RB, 35th in receiving TDs for a RB
- 5-year peak (2009-2013) average season: 274 carries for 1,211 yards (4.4 ypc), 8 rushing TDs. 32 catches for 269 yards, 1 receiving TD
- 9 career playoff games (5-4): 148 carries for 668 yards (4.5 ypc) and 5 TDs. 18 catches, 167 yards, 0 receiving TDs.
- 83rd in all-time games played (non-kicker or punter): 226 games. This is 3rd all-time for running backs only.
It feels pretty simple for me. Both of these guys ran up staggering numbers, in part due to tremendous durability. Availability is the best ability as well all know, but the counting numbers can be misleading. Eli is seventh all-time in passes completed, yards, and touchdowns but is he the seventh-best QB of all time? Of course not. He doesn't have a single All-Pro selection. Gore is third in rushing attempts and yards but is he the third-best RB of all time? Out of Miami, perhaps.
At any given time, was either one of these guys the best at their position? Top 3? Top 5?? Gore made a Second-Team All-Pro in 2006 but Ladell Betts ran for 1,100 yards that year. What the hell was going on??
I think the answer to the question is clearly Eli. The two SBMVPs were in part due to luck but he helped get himself in that position twice. If they were both above average at their position, I'm going with the guy that played the tougher position. I don't think you can tell the history of the NFL without Eli Manning, and you damn sure couldn't tell the Giants history without him. He's even shoehorned his way into Tom Brady's history! No offense, but forget the NFL: You could tell the 49ers story without Frank Gore. Bill Walsh, West Coast, Montana to Clark, Young to Rice, Harbaugh, and Kaepernick, yadda yadda yadda.
I'm voting Eli. You?