Eli Manning called it a career last week with a press conference officially announcing his retirement. This started the five-year waiting period that leads to his first time being eligible for the Hall of Fame. There are debates about whether or not he is actually "worthy," but Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman is focused on pointing out what is unfair about the Manning Hall of Fame talk.
"What's hard is — and I went through it — you go through a career and you feel good about it," Aikman said, per the New York Post. "My guess is Eli's thrilled with the career that he had. And he should be."
"Back then, social media didn't exist," Aikman continued. "I wasn't asked [about the Hall of Fame] on the day of my retirement. When it got closer, after five years, it was almost like I had to apologize or defend my career. That's the part of it that really kind of sucks. I don't like it for him. I don't like the debate. … I don't like the process we go through for the Hall of Fame."
Manning defeated the previously undefeated New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLII after throwing a game-winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress. He also partnered with David Tyree for one of the most iconic plays in NFL history, the Helmet Catch. Manning was named Super Bowl MVP for this effort.
The Patriots and Giants met yet again during Super Bowl XLVI, a game in which Manning partnered with Mario Manningham for yet another iconic play. He threw a touchdown pass to Victor Cruz, avoided any interceptions, and was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time in his career.
"He had a great career," Aikman said about Manning. "Those Super Bowl runs, I'd put those games and those runs up against anyone in the history of the game. He got them to that point. He's the reason they won those Super Bowls."
The years following these victories were not as friendly to Manning. He finished the final eight seasons of his career with a record of 48-67 while only returning to the playoffs once. This brought his career win-loss record to 117-117.
The former New York Giants quarterback will be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame in five years. There is a 48-person panel that must determine if he should be enshrined in the Hallowed Halls. The former Dallas Cowboys QB in Aikman does not know if Manning will ultimately be inducted, but he does believe that he shouldn't expect this honor.0comments
"As far as saying is he a Hall of Famer or he is not a Hall of Famer," Aikman said, "I don't think any player should ever retire from football feeling they are a Hall of Fame player. I think it takes away from those that are in the Hall of Fame. If you are fortunate to be asked to join, you should join with hat in hand and feel good about it. I've never liked hearing a player complain about not being selected to the Hall of Fame."
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