Tuesday morning, the New York Giants officially declared the end of an era when they benched longtime veteran and former first-round pick (2004) Eli Manning. The team announced that rookie backup Daniel Jones would be the starting quarterback and would lead the offense from here on out. Due to a no-trade clause in his contract, Manning will remain with the team, but he won't be the top man under center.
Considering that he is 38 years old, it's very likely that Manning will be done with football in the near future. This means that he will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years after his retirement, but will he be worthy of inclusion? According to a vocal majority on Twitter, the answer is a resounding NO due to Manning posting a career record of 116-116. However, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon disagrees. He believes that the younger Manning will soon be enshrined in the hallowed halls.
"I think he is based off his numbers and what he's able to do as a team as well," Moon said to TMZ Sports. "He's definitely put together a career that's Hall of Fame-worthy."
To further Moon's point, Manning has never missed a game due to health concerns since taking over as the starter in New York. Between 2005-2016, he started all 16 games each season and was on the verge of continuing this streak in 2017. However, former head coach Ben McAdoo benched Manning for one game, ending his ironman streak.
However, Manning started all 16 games in 2018 and the two in 2019, kicking off the streak anew, but it will be ending once again. The most consistently healthy quarterback since Brett Favre will no longer be viewed as the ironman.
Health aside, the Giants QB currently ranks seventh all-time in passing yards (56,537) and eighth in touchdowns with 362. There is also the matter of Manning winning two Super Bowls against the New England Patriots while being named MVP both times.
"I've just looked at his body of work ... and he's won the championships, which is something very important to the voters when you go into that room," Moon continued. "He's got two of them and he was the MVP in both of those games. That's gonna bode well for him."
Having two victories in the Big Game doesn't necessarily guarantee enshrinement in the Hall of Fame – just ask Jim Plunkett – but it certainly helps Manning's case. Despite some inconsistent play in the final years of his starting tenure, he still helped the Giants reach the playoffs six separate times and came away with a ring twice. More importantly to some, he toppled the undefeated Patriots back in 2007.0comments
This conversation about Manning's future with the Hall of Fame will continue to rage until he is eligible. Unfortunately, that won't happen until five years after he has retired, so this debate will continue to dominate headlines for the foreseeable future.
In the eyes of Warren Moon, however, there is no question. Eli Manning deserves a gold jacket.