With Eli Manning calling it a career we have been inundated with sportswriters and t.v. pundits debating his Hall of Fame candidacy. Over the last 15 years we have seen the pendulum swing where weak pundits want to equate everything to just a series of stats. For those of us who know this game and it’s vast history, players also make the Pro Football Hall of Fame based on performing heroic feats.
Manning’s detractors will point to his 117-117 record and try to reduce his influence to just his Super Bowl XLII upset of the undefeated New England Patriots. “Oh he only won because of the great Giants pass rush.” is a scoff we hear when Eli and this game is brought up.
Yet before we get started let The Chancellor share with you several of his feats:
- 1 of 5 two time Super Bowl MVPs XLII & XLVI (3 of 4 are in the PFHOF/ Brady awaits)
- 1 of 3 QBs to win 2 conference championships on road (Elway in PFHOF/Brady awaits)
- 1 of 2 QBs to lead game winning Super Bowl drives twice (Brady other with 4)
- Tied with Tom Brady with 4 postseason wins over teams with 13 regular season wins.
- Only QB in history with 2 postseason wins over teams with 15 regular season wins (07 Pats 16-0 & ’11 Packers 15-1)
- 2nd in road /neutral site playoff wins in NFL history with 7 (Brady 1st with 9)
- Won the Super Bowl in 2011 with the worst regular season record ever at 9-7. (broke Joe Montana’s ’88 team who went 10-6/ Montana in PFHOF)
When every other QB Manning has performed these feats next to are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame…?? Ok not yet.
Now to crush a few misnomers about Eli… Did you know when Manning led the Giants XLVI championship he won it with the lowest rated defense in Super Bowl history ranked 27th? Take a guess who passed for the most yardage in a regular season (4,933 yards) to win the Super Bowl? You guessed it Eli Manning in XLVI.
Did you notice Peyton Manning didn’t come up once in any of these feats? Most would assume his name would come up and not Eli by the way the media shaped their narratives.
Stop and think of the signature games Eli has in his back pocket. Everyone remembers the run to the Super Bowl in 2007 especially the Dallas Cowboys. Remember that group?? An emerging Tony Romo and Terrell Owens sparkled as they ran to an NFC best 13-3 record and the championship of the Eastern Division. Manning had a mistake free game where he was 12 of 18 for 163 yards 2TDs 0ints to Tony Romo’s 18 of 36 201 yards 1 TD and a game clinching interception to RW McQuarters in the endzone.
Then in a frigid Lambeau Field took down the 13-3 Green Bay in Brett Favre’s last game as a Packer. In this contest Eli was mistake free again going 21 of 40 257 yards no scores but even bigger… no intercptions. Where Favre looked cold all night throwing an overtime interception to seal Green Bay’s fate. He completed 19 of 35 236 yards, tossing 2 scores but 2 large intercpetions halted a chance at the Super Bowl to end his career.
Don’t forget he returned to win a 2nd in Lambeau when he gunned down 2011 league MVP Aaron Rodgers 37-20 in the 2011 NFC Divisional. Manning came out gunning hitting on 2 TDs including a demoralizing Hail Mary at the end of the half to put the Giants up 20-10. He finished this game 21 of 33 330 yards 3TDs and only 1 int. NFL MVP Rodgers was out of sorts from the outset. His ledger was less impressive 26 of 46 264 yards 2 TDs and an interception. Rodgers has been snakebit in the playoffs ever since.
Keep in mind he is the only QB in history with 2 playoff wins on the road at Lambeau Field and the only one to beat both Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre in postseason play.
We have to remember he was a 2 time Super Bowl winning quarterback although the sporting press doesn’t cover him like one. He isn’t coddled like his brother when it comes to his short comings. Think about it for a second…. Had Eli Manning thrown a 4th quarter interception to seal his team’s fate in a Super Bowl you would never have heard the end of it. Peyton did that in Super Bowl XLIV to New Orleans’ Tracy Porter.
We hardly hear of his triumph in Super Bowl XLII, he’s treated like a supporting actor to the upset itself or even David Tyree’s helmet catch. Neither of which could have taken place without Eli’s heroics. If you can remember Eli had to break free of two linemen and scrambled before throwing that famous pass to Tyree.
One of the best throws in Super Bowl history. Who knew he would upstage it with the best throw ever in XLVI?? With just 3:46 remaining and down 17-15 and at his 12 yard line, Manning facing a Cover 2 had Mario Manningham break outside CB Sterling Moore when…
Quite simply it’s a pass that shouldn’t have been thrown when it comes to football schematics. Not against Cover 2 yet if the pass was 1 yard shorter it would have been knocked away by Moore. If the pass was to the outside 1 yard Mario Manningham doesn’t get his feet in. If the pass was 1 yard over in the field of play FS Chung would have intercepted or knocked the ball down. Yet in the money time with his team losing Eli delivered this 38 yard “Rembrandt” which was the centerpiece to a game winning drive and a 21-17 win.
It was Eli’s 6th 4th quarter comeback in 2011 alone…and by the way since he did it the week before in the NFC Championship against the 49ers, Eli is the only QB in history with back to back 4th quarter comebacks to win a conference championship and Super Bowl in the same season. Yet I digress… He came off the canvas after being hit 11 times and sacked on 6 occasions to complete 32 of 58 for 316 yards 2TDs and again no picks.
It was Eli who spotted Manningham break a cardinal rule in Cover 2, the defense is to reroute the receiver to the inside and funnel him up to the safety. When he didn’t Manning took two steps toward the receiver to change the trajectory and let fly. Great great throw.
Eli finished with an 8-4 record in the playoffs and get this he was 7-2 away from home in the playoffs including the Super Bowl, for his career. Contrast that against Peyton’s 3-6 record away from home in the playoffs, which includes a 41-0 devastating loss to the New York Jets. Understand Eli doesn’t have a lopsided postseason loss to that degree on his resume’.
No one even comes close to his road post season record. He’s quiet and tremendously unassuming off the field. Yet it’s at this moment your mind has to change when it comes to Hall of Fame worthiness. You’d think that the coddling the media gave his brother would have rubbed off on him. That it hasn’t gave him a thicker skin and stronger resolve. One exhibited time after time in 2 tremendous playoff runs.
He’s had other moments like when he came within 45 yards of the all time NFL record of 554 yards passing in 2012. Remember that? Yes he threw for an NFL record 245 yards 25 points in the 4th quarter to beat the Bucs 41-34 in week 2. Manning threw for 510 yards in another come from behind win.
For his career he completed 4,895 of 8,119 for 57,023 yards 366 TDs and 244 interceptions. His performance was that of a great “B” student yet when the money was on the line he delivered “A+” material.
With his total of 27 4th quarter come from behind wins Eli has more than Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Joe Montana, Warren Moon, & Dan Fouts. Only one short of Brett Favre Yet you don’t think he belongs??
Then many of you want to call Tom Brady the greatest quarterback ever for winning 6 Super Bowls…well .. What do you call Eli who holds a winning record against him 3-2, twice beating Brady in Super Bowls?? For good measure is the only starting QB to beat him twice in the same season in 2011. What do you call Eli?? Not elite Tiki Barber… you call him a Hall of Famer!
For induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame I present Eli Manning!
The Chancellor’s other pieces written advocating players Hall of Fame candidacy: