It took only two games before head coach Pat Shurmur benched Eli Manning in favor of backup Daniel Jones. With his best playing days behind him, Eli Manning’s next step includes lobbying for a spot in the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Eli Manning benched Hall of Fame worthy
NY Giants Eli Manning walks to the sideline after receiving a gash to the head during a preseason game against the NY Jets in 2010. (Image: Damian Strohmeyer/SI)

Rookie QB Daniel Jones, the sixth overall pick out of Duke, will get his first start of his career against the Tampa Bay Bucs. If Jones thrives, this marks the end of Eli’s career in the Big Apple. Despite two Super Bowl titles with victories over the hated New England Patriots, Giants fans had enough with Eli’s ineptitude. The Giants have plenty of other problems, but Eli is an easy scapegoat.

“Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect,” said head coach Pat Shurmur. “But he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games. Daniel understands the challenge at hand, and he will be ready to play on Sunday.”

Over his last three seasons, Eli Manning guided the Giants to a 8-25 record which hurt his Hall of Fame chances. Head coach Pat Shurmur finally pulled the plug on Eli after an 0-2 start. Manning threw two touchdowns and two picks over the first two weeks but looked ineffective while the Giants were beat up by the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills.

WHO IS ELI MANNING?
Age: 38
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
College: Ole Miss
Draft: #1 Pick 2004 NFL Draft San Diego
Games: 234
Stats: 56,537 yards, 362 TD, 241 INT
W-L: 116-116
Super Bowl Titles: 2

Over his career, Manning completed 60.3 percent of his passes for over 56,537 yards including 362 touchdowns and 241.

Manning is one of five legends who won at least two Super Bowl MVPs. That exclusive list includes Joe Montana, Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, and Tom Brady.

Grateful Eli

Eli Manning was never a super-nerd with studying game film like his brother Peyton Manning. If the manning brothers were musicians, Peyton would be one of the Funk Brothers or a member of the Wrecking Crew as one of the greatest studio musicians of all time. If anything, Eli Manning is more like a jazz musician or a jamband guitarist like Jerry Garcia or Trey Anastasio. Eli thrives when the play breaks down and he has to improv and think fast on his feet.

Eli was also a big-game QB. Many other of his colleagues with way better passing pedigrees never made it to the Super Bowl, let alone won two of them. Even the elite passers over the last two decades could not step up in the playoffs when it counted the most. But the bigger the game and the more pressure surrounding the situation, the more Eli thrived.

Iron Eli Benched

Eli started 210 games in a row without missing a day off from work. Eli Manning played 15 consecutive seasons without missing a game before he got benched coupe seasons ago. It’s the NFL and everyone plays hurt. Eli Manning suited up 16 games every season even though he was banged up and beat down. If that’s not the sign of a warrior, I don’t know what is. That stretch of durability alone is worthy enough of induction in my book, especially considering how many former players are diagnosed with CTE and other debilitating injuries after they retire.

During that stretch of reliable Eli, he also led the NY Giants to two more Super Bowl titles. And it’s not like Eli beat up on bad teams. Eli beat one of the greatest dynasties of all time. Without Eli Manning screwing things up for the Patriots, Tom Brady would probably have two more Super Bowl rings.

“He beat the greatest quarterback and coach of all time in two Super Bowls,” said NFL beat writer Ian O’Connor from ESPN. “Eli is going to Canton. Who cares if it’s not on roller skates?”

The fact that Eli led the G-Men to victories over the greatest coach of all-time is also enough credibility to gain a nod to Canton.

Eli in Canton?

If Eli Manning does not make it into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio it will be because of his overall win-loss record, numerous interceptions, and the fact he was never the top passer in the league at any point in his career. Manning tossed 30-plus touchdowns only thrice.

Manning not securing the ultimate Iron Man award for most-consecutive starts as a quarterback is also another reason he could fall short of the mark.

Did ex-Giants head coach Ben McAdoo sabotage Eli Manning’s potential bid into the Hall of Fame? McAdo benched Eli Manning late in the season, which irked fans including many veterans around the league. Almost everyone in the NFL had deep respect for Eli’s streak because they knew how much pain he’d endure.

There’s a scenario in which Manning finishes out that season with his consecutive-streak intact with the notion that the Giants would move in a new direction the next season. At that juncture, Manning could have revitalized his career in a new city with the hopes of catching Favre’s 297-game record. Jacksonville desperately needed a quarterback after Blake Bortles didn’t work out.

The Denver Broncos have been searching for a QB ever since Peyton Manning retired. Like his older brother, Eli Manning could have finished out the final years of his career with the Broncos while he chased Favre’s record. Denver could have been a perfect home for Eli, especially playing for a rabid fanbase that truly adores every player that wore a Broncos uniform. Peyton Manning lives in Colorado for a reason (lots of local Peyton love) and it’s not for the legal cannabis and String Cheese Incident concerts.

Comments

  1. Stole this from the Dan Patrick Show. If your answer to a HOF question is: “I’m not sure.” The answer is really no. True HOF players are obvious just by mentioning their name.

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