- Kathy Kmonicek, Newsday
Retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner has caused controversy with his latest statements, saying that Eli Manning isn't an accomplished enough player to gain entry into the illustrious Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The incendiary comments are stirring up opposition, especially after Manning led the New York Giants to defeat the New England Patriots in Sunday's Super Bowl XLVI 21-17.
While on Burns and Gambo radio show, the hosts brought up Manning's probable entry into the Hall of Fame- something Warner "fully disagreed with."
"I do not believe [Eli has] been a Hall of Fame player up to this point," Warner said.
Warner then cited some of Manning's less impressive statistics- the quarterback only completes his passes 58.4 percent of the time, and has had five seasons with over 16 interceptions each- as further reason he should not be immortalized in the Canton, Ohio hall.
"Those aren't Hall of Fame numbers," criticized Warner, who insisted on Manning's need to become a "game changer" for more than just this year.
Warner himself has some similar statistics to Manning while he was in the NFL. He was 67-49 as a starter, had 208 touchdowns, and won one Super Bowl. In comparison, Manning is 69-50, has 185 touchdowns, and won the Super Bowl twice.
Despite the obvious similarities between the two athletes, Warner harshly judged Manning, saying he needs to change his "extremely inconsistent" career style to something more like his 2012 performance.
"He needs to be the guy he was this year for the rest of the career … the guy that puts his team on his back and carries them … through the playoffs," said Warner.
Some disagree with Warner's assessment.
"Right now Eli Manning is a Hall of Famer in my book," posted Sean Womersley on a Los Angeles Times article, citing Skip Bayless' "clutch factor" that makes the quarterback a champion.
"Warner is wrong," said another. "Even when the Giants were 7-7 this year, it was on Eli's arm."
Some experts, though, understand Warner's broader- though highly critical- point of view.
"A Hall of Fame berth should be based on the entire body of work, not just Super Bowls. And Eli's regular-season work isn't Hall-worthy right now," said Jim Thomas to STLToday.com.
Kathleen Nelson pointed out that Warner will be eligible for the Hall of Fame far before Eli, because a player must be retired for at least five years before becoming accepted. Still, she thought Manning would definitely become a legend.
"Eli is a destined Hall of Famer, given the two titles and his history of late-game success with a high-profile franchise," she said. If Manning were to ever be injured, though, she would "put Kurt in ahead of him, given Kurt's extreme production in his best years."