Kurt Warner's declaration regarding Eli Manning's Hall of Fame credentials probably caught your attention this week. The subject made for a compelling First Take discussion, available in the video above.
It was the first time I could recall one high-profile quarterback questioning another's credentials in such stark terms and backed by statistical research. Warner and Manning were once teammates, after all.
Another former NFC West luminary, Mike Holmgren, made no headlines with his comments to Sports Radio KJR's Dave Mahler regarding Bill Parcells' credentials for the Hall. But his emphatic support for Parcells raised questions about Holmgren's own credentials.
A few thoughts on Warner, Holmgren and their comments:
Warner said he "fully disagrees" with the notion that Manning's second Super Bowl title makes him worthy for the Hall of Fame. He pointed to Manning's career NFL passer rating (82.1), his 16-plus picks in five of eight seasons and a 58 percent completion rate as evidence. Warner then defined a quarterback's Hall worthiness this way: "Every time you step on the field, you're a game changer, you're a difference maker. And I don't believe Eli Manning has been that guy until this year."
Warner was that type of guy, of course, and that makes his comments sound self-serving. Manning's career is not close to finished. It's far too early to judge his career in the context of Canton. If Warner felt such conversations were premature, he could have said so without shooting down Manning.
For fun, consider that quite a few quarterbacks have earned enshrinement with NFL passer ratings and completion percentages lower than those for Manning, albeit in vastly different eras. There is no statistical cutoff for automatic enshrinement. Many factors are taken into account.
Holmgren expressed his support for the 2012 Hall class and his former player, Cortez
Parcells vs. Holmgren
Kennedy, in particular. He then said: "Every year you look at the group going in and everyone has their opinions. I thought Bill Parcells should go in. I was startled he did not go in. ... He is one of the best coaches to ever coach this game. But it happens. It is good conversation around the water cooler. Of the players that went in, you wouldn’t have much argument."
Parcells took four franchises to the playoffs. Holmgren took two. Both took two organizations to the Super Bowl. Parcells won two titles. Holmgren won one. If Parcells is an obvious choice for the Hall eventually, what does that make Holmgren?
Parcells' career also matches up fairly closely with Mike Shanahan's career in games, victories and Super Bowl titles. But there are obviously other factors, all making for interesting discussion.
Manning vs. Warner
See you at the water cooler.