Is Eli Manning a first-ballot Hall of Famer? One voter says no

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By , Audacy

Eli Manning won’t be eligible for the Hall of Fame until the Class of 2025, but his case is an interesting enough one to talk about years in advance.

The longtime New York Giants quarterback undoubtedly had some high points that few have ever gotten to – chiefly his leading of the Giants past Tom Brady and the New England Patriots twice in the Super Bowl.

But over his 16-year career, Manning was often good but not great. He made just four Pro Bowls and was never named All-Pro. His career regular season record of 117-117 is the perfect microcosm for the case against him: Good player who showed up in a huge moment twice, but was not spectacular often enough.

There’s time to think about it, and perhaps the way we view Manning’s career will change one way or the other in the next couple years. But appearing on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Thursday, ProFootballTalk’s Charean Williams, a Hall of Fame voter since 2007, said Manning won’t be getting her vote on his first try.

“I think there’s about half people who think he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer and about half the people think he’s probably not a Hall of Famer at all,” Williams said. “So, I think that’s probably the next big battle. Mike Florio, my boss, insists that Archie and Peyton are going to start campaigning for him and it’s going to be hard to turn him down.

“But I think you saw with DeMarcus Ware how things have changed with first-ballot Hall of Famers. I think people are starting to realize that too many of those guys – the (Brian) Urlachers – went in on the first ballot that probably shouldn’t have. So, I think the mindset has probably changed on that a little bit. I think he eventually goes in, I don’t think he’s first ballot, but I think that’s the next battle.”

Williams might not be one of those voters who comes around eventually and just votes him in.

“I’m not there yet. It’s probably eventually, but I don’t think he’s a first-ballot guy,” Williams said. “After that maybe, I’ll have to see what the presenter says and how they present it, but they're going to have to convince me. Two Super Bowls, I get it, but there are other players who won Super Bowls who aren’t there either. You look at the Pro Bowls and All-Pros and All-Decade Teams and all of that, it’s not there. Now, the numbers are great, he’s in the top 10 in just about everything, I think. But numbers now have gone up, and I don’t know if we can base everything just on numbers. …

“(They always say to) use your eyes – when you watch that player play do you think he was a Hall of Famer? When I watched Eli play in those Super Bowls, I thought he was a Hall of Famer. When I saw him play all of his other games, I’m not so sure he was.”

Hall of Fame voting is an inexact science. Whereas some might be willing to look the other way when it comes to his relative lack of accolades because of his role in those two Super Bowl wins, others might not be able to let go of that.

Time will tell, but it doesn’t seem like Manning has an open and shut case either way.

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