Lombardi vs. Warner: The debate over Eli’s Hall worthiness

The debate over whether or not Giants QB Eli Manning has solidified his spot in the Hall of Fame with a second Super Bowl title has heated up thanks to comments made by NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner on Tuesday.

Well, we took it to the next level Wednesday on “NFL Total Access,” pitting Warner vs. NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi, who is in favor of Manning’s Hall of Fame candidacy on the basis of his two championships. Not so for Warner.

“I know as well as anybody that Super Bowls are often synonymous with quarterback careers,” Warner said. “But when I think of a Hall of Famer, I think of someone who is consistently great — not just at critical moments like Eli has been. … When I think of a Hall of Famer, I think of a guy that every time out is a great player, every season (he) displays greatness.”

Which Eli hasn’t, posting a career passer rating of 82. 1, completion percentage of 58.4, and throwing at least 16 interceptions in five of his eight seasons.

For Lombardi, though, the standard of mediocrity (or worse) in the regular season but coming up big in clutch situations has already been set.

“When you look at Eli’s seasons,” Lombardi said, “and you see that he’s won two championships, and then you go graze into the Hall of Fame and see some of the name’s that are in there … Let’s take Joe Namath: Certainly worthy of the Hall of Fame, but his quarterback rating for his career was 65. He threw 220 interceptions to 173 touchdown passes. It wasn’t a consistently great career for Joe, but he did, on the biggest stage, make the biggest plays. And I think that’s where Eli is.”

Kind of makes you wonder if Namath even belongs, doesn’t it? But if he’s in, then yeah, maybe Eli is a lock, after all.

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