Eli Manning Has A Career Worth Remembering, Not Just Debating

Jan 24, 2020, 4:44 PM | Updated: 4:58 pm
Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants poses with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the G...
Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants poses with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Giants defeated the Patriots by a score of 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Just as soon as the news of Eli Manning’s retirement broke, debates began about whether or not he belonged in the NFL Hall of Fame.

As an insufferable New York Giants fan, and an even bigger Eli Manning fan, I am probably not the right person to convince you that he absolutely, without a doubt belongs in the Hall of Fame – what I can showcase is that the youngest Manning has a career worth remembering fondly, not just debating over.

To casual football fans, Manning seems goofy and a little dull but to Giants fans, he was everything their franchise needed and as a young football fan, he was everything I needed to become a life-long fan.

“Eventually the team and fans would learn to appreciate that, what they got was pure, unadulterated Eli,” Manning said of himself during his retirement announcement.

Pure, unadulterated Eli was a clutch quarterback, a great teammate and the face of a franchise.

The Numbers Prove Toughness

Let’s get the numbers talk out of the way so we can move onto what really matters.

Manning is 7th all-time in touchdowns, 7th all-time in passing yards and 7th all-time in passes completed. He holds two Super Bowl MVP awards (I’ll expand on that later) and is a four-time pro bowler.

Perhaps the most important stat of his 16 season career is that he never missed a start because of an injury despite being sacked a total of 400 times throughout his career – Manning is durable.

He sits only behind Brett Favre and Phillip Rivers for most consecutive starts with 210 between 2004 and 2017.

A Perfect Teammate

Beyond durability, he was a great teammate, proven both by the number of teammates who posted about his retirement and the reason Manning gave reporters for pushing to never miss a game.

“It’s a lot about just trying to be there for your teammates. You always saw guys playing through injuries – offensive lineman, guys that were sore and beat-up, and running backs that were sore every week but they did what they could to be there for their teammates,” Manning said.

New York Giant legend Michael Strahan praised Manning on Twitter encouraging him to “enjoy all the praise because you’ve earned it.”

Rich Seubert, former offensive lineman for the Giants posted on Twitter about his friend’s retirement reminding everyone that he would “run through a wall” for Manning.

Plenty of teammates and competitors sounded off on social media congratulating and expressing appreciation for Manning as a football player and simply as a good friend and human.

There was a trend among the former and current NFL players posting – Canton, Ohio and the NFL Hall of Fame.

Evan Engram, Golden Tate, Justin Tuck, Victor Cruz and many more all had mention of Canton or the Hall of Fame in their posts about Manning.

Another reason to argue Manning belongs in the Hall of Fame is that who knows someone’s playing ability, leadership and skill better than the people who played with and against him? No one.

The Peak: Super Bowl MVP x2

The strongest argument to Manning getting into the Hall of Fame is his two Super Bowl MVP awards, both coming after Manning led the Giants to championships over the New England Patriots dynasty.

When the team won their first Super Bowl in 2008 they were the fifth seed in the playoffs and in 2012 they were the fourth seed, both years the Patriots had a first-round bye.

Another Giant legend, Tiki Barber, went straight to Manning’s Super Bowl victories when discussing this issue on his show Tiki and Tierney.

“When he won a championship that season, beating supposedly the greatest team ever assembled, the undefeated at the time, New England Patriots, he put himself on a pedestal that you could never knock him down from. People will talk to the interceptions and all the other statistical things … there is something about his story that you can’t discount and you cant marginalize,” said Barber.

On top of his two Super Bowl victories against a seemingly unstoppable dynasty, Manning is third on the list of most game-winning drives in the post-season in NFL history, coming in behind only Tom Brady and John Elway.

Speaking of Brady, here is what he had to say about the retirement.

Always A Giant

As a fan of many players and sports, it seems of all my favorites, Manning is the easiest for people to poke fun at. I suppose he is an easy target (and a little goofy). One of the easiest jabs people make is the interceptions.

Yes, he threw 244 of them throughout his career, but let’s be honest, consistent dominance and greatness is boring. Who wants to see Alabama win another National Title or Tom Brady win another Super Bowl? Not many of us.

Sure, Manning had his lows but they only made fans appreciate the highs so much more – making those game-winning drives even sweeter.

After all, life is about how you make people feel, and Manning made Giants fans feel on top of the world for those moments.

And best of all – he was and always will be only a New York Giant.


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Eli Manning Has A Career Worth Remembering, Not Just Debating