Sunday, January 1, 2012

Eli Manning In The Hall Of Fame? It's Early, But I Think He Has Good Shot

Even after Eli Manning won his first Super Bowl, I wouldn't have thought it possible that he could ever approach the lofty statistics that his elder brother, Peyton, has accumulated.

After all, Peyton Manning was the Manning brother who has always been deemed the better of the two, by far. Peyton was the brother who supposedly would win multiple Super Bowls. Peyton was the one who would attempt to break Brett Favre's records.

A funny thing has happened in the past year, however.  While big brother Peyton has been out all season convalescing from neck surgery, Eli has put together his third straight 4,000-yard season passing.  In 2011, he passed for just under 5,000 yards with 29 touchdowns to just 16 interceptions.

Eli's issues in the pats have been consistency and decision-making.  Now he's becoming known as a clutch performer in the fourth quarter.  He set the NFL record tonight for most 4th quarter touchdown passes in a season, besting both Johnny Unitas and Peyton.

Eli vs Peyton

Eli turns 31 on January 3, and is finishing his 8th year in the NFL.  If he plays another seven years and simply averages 3,500 yards a season for the rest of his career, he'll have accumulated 52,000 yards.  If he averages 24 touchdowns during that time, he'll finish with 353 touchdowns.  In seven years with the Giants, his playoff record is 4-3 with all four wins coming in that magical run to the Super Bowl in 2007.

Where is Peyton right now?  He's played 13 seasons (plus this one that he didn't play), and currently has 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns.  In the playoffs, he's 8-10.

Imagine if Peyton doesn't play another down in the NFL due to his neck/nerve issues.  Peyton is a shoo-in as a Hall of Fame QB.  While guys like Drew Brees and Tom Brady may ultimately surpass his stats, Peyton would remain a top-five quarterback.

However, Eli would be right up there and probably in line just behind his brother in the record books.  Even if Peyton plays again and continues to pad his stats, Eli would eventually pass the records of John Elway with stats that would rank him fifth or sixth all-time.  With stats like that, how could he NOT make the Hall of Fame?

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