Warner: Eli isn't Hall of Fame material yet

February, 8, 2012
2/08/12
8:02
PM ET
Kurt Warner was impressed with Eli Manning’s performance this season and in the playoffs and Super Bowl.

But he doesn’t believe that his former understudy is Canton-bound because he has won two Super Bowls.

“I fully disagree with that,” Warner said when asked about Manning on Arizona Sports 620 radio. “Because I know we put a lot of weight on championships, and rightfully so. But championships are won as a team, and I'm fully convinced of that. You never see one guy — a great player, great quarterback — carry a team through the playoffs and into a Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl that way.”

Warner, who was the starter for the Giants until Manning overtook him as a rookie, cited Manning’s career stats as not being Hall of Fame-worthy yet.

“Yeah, he made the plays down the stretch, no question about it and his team has had two great playoff runs,” Warner said. “But I also look at the rest of his career. He is an 82-percent quarterback rating throughout his career, he has had five of his eight seasons where he has thrown 16 interceptions or more. His completion percentage on his career is 58-percent. To me, those aren’t Hall of Fame numbers.”

“Every time you step on the field, you're a game changer, you're a difference maker,” he continued. “And I don't believe Eli Manning has been that guy until this year. I think this year is the first time in his career where he's become that guy."

Warner also is surprised to hear people debate whether Manning is now a better quarterback than big brother Peyton.

“I can’t fathom that in regards to what they have accomplished in their whole careers,” said Warner, an analyst for NFL Network. “The kind of quarterback they have been their entire careers, I don’t think it is even close between Peyton and Eli. I give Eli credit. Two championships, phenomenal. I would love to have two championships. But I do not believe he is a Hall of Fame player for the first eight years of his career.”

Warner said that Manning, who is entering his prime, needs to play the way he did this season all the time. And he believes that if Manning does that from here on out, he won’t need another Super Bowl championship to earn an invitation into the Hall of Fame.

“He probably doesn’t have to win another championship,” Warner said. “But he does, in my opinion, need to be the guy that he was this year for the rest of his career.”

“And if he is that guy the rest of his career and finishes with just two championships, then yes, I believe he becomes a Hall of Famer,” he continued. “But just because he has two championships up to this point, he’s been extremely inconsistent throughout his career. We all know he can get hot. But that doesn’t automatically solidify one player, catapult into Hall of Fame status because his team got hot, he played extremely well for just select periods of his career.”

So what do you guys think? Are two rings and two Super Bowl MVPs enough for Eli to get into the Hall?
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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