Has Eli Manning Booked His Spot in the Hall of Fame?

Before the beginning of the NFL season, Eli Manning made the claim that he was an elite quarterback. Eli has always been a soft-spoken, humble player in a New York media. Most players struggle to stay under the radar, so when he said he was in the elite class of quarterbacks, most critics laughed at him. Based on the first seven years of his career, he was definitely not an elite quarterback, but Manning certainly proved everybody wrong after his stellar 2011-2012 campaign.

After leading the Giants through a tough regular season, storming right through the Falcons and Packers, and gutting out a victory with his late-game heroics in San Francisco, Eli Manning finally reached his second Super Bowl. This time, the Giants would go on to face a familiar foe, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, in a rematch of Super Bowl 42.

Thinking back to August when Eli was asked if he thought he was an elite quarterback like Tom Brady, he simply replied saying he belonged in that class. However, while all the speculation was great for the media, the real talk would come on the field during the Super Bowl. Manning, poised and perfect at the beginning, relaxed and confident on a closing drive to the go-ahead touchdown, defeated Brady and earned his second Super Bowl MVP award. It’s hard to imagine anyone arguing his status now after leading his team past Tom Brady for a second time in 4 years.

Manning is now one of only five players in NFL history to win two Super Bowl MVP awards, joining prestigious company including Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Bart Starr, and of course, Tom Brady.

Whether Eli Manning is elite or not isn’t really even a question anymore; you can’t even spell elite without E-L-I. The million-dollar question is whether or not Eli Manning is a hall of famer? He certainly has not always been a great regular season quarterback, but isn’t the legacy of great players determined on how they perform when it really matters?

Manning has become maybe the most clutch quarterback in the league. He has an 8–3 record in the playoffs, with two Super Bowl MVP awards and a pair of Vince Lombardi Trophies. In Super Bowl XLII, Manning led a 12-play, 83-yard game-winning drive; in Super Bowl XLVI, Manning led a nine-play, 88-yard game-winning drive. And Manning doesn’t just produce in crunch time on Super Sunday; Eli threw an NFL record 15 fourth-quarter TDs in 2011. I’m not saying he is a sure first ballot hall of famer, but when it matters most, Manning is at his best. And his best ranks among the best of all time.

Manning is now 31 years old and with a very talented young group of receivers, he’ll be a force to reckon with for years to come.