Although New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been criticized in the past for his lack of emotion on the field, nobody could ever question his attitude off of it. As a young boy growing up, he had to get used to living in the shadow if his father Archie, and then again playing second-fiddle to his older brother Peyton.
While growing up as an aspiring quarterback in the Manning family certainly had its perks, there was a certain level of expectation that came with the territory. For Eli, the media expectation was that he had to be as good as Peyton, or else he was considered a disappointment. However, on Monday, Eli talked about how his personal goals never had anything to do with his older brother.
“I’ve never tried to compete with Peyton, I never tried to say I need to be better than him. I’ve accepted at times that I wasn’t maybe as good as him because he was the No. 1 high school player in the country. In college, he was going to be the first pick in the draft, so if I tried to go out there and be the same person and be better than him or the same person as him, I’m going to drive myself crazy. I’m going to go out and be the best quarterback I can be and get the most out of my potential. If that’s better than him, great. If it’s not, so be it.” Manning said.
Peyton Manning will always be heralded as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. However, whether Eli wants to admit it or not, there will come a time when he will surpass his older brother in the hierarchy of NFL quarterbacks. In fact, that day may have already come and gone.
Furthermore, the illusion of a sibling rivalry within the Manning family is more of a media creation than an actual feud. As we have consistently seen throughout Eli’s career, Peyton has always been his biggest supporter. In the aftermath of Super Bowl XLII, Peyton even made his way to the Giants locker room to congratulate his younger brother. Needless to say, the bond between Peyton and Eli is a unique relationship that goes unrivaled in the world of sports.
“I admire Peyton and watching him on film and the throws he makes and the mechanics, I still watch in awe. He’s still at that top level as far as what he has done with the football. We have a great relationship and it’s a total support [system].” Eli said.
Although the Eli vs. Peyton debate can be entertaining for fans, it could not be more meaningless to the Manning brothers themselves. Both of them are elite quarterbacks in their own right, and neither feels obligated to prove himself better than the other. As a fan, it’s comforting to know that your franchise player has a mentor like Peyton Manning as his biggest supporter.
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