More than thousands of reporters and photographers crowded at Super Bowl media day – the wildest circus where reporters from all over the world gathered around Eli Manning’s table. There is a suggestion here that he might clearly be the best quarterback in Super Bowl XLVI, or for that matter, on the verge of winning his second Super Bowl title to surpass his brother, Peyton.

The media gathering largely, turning all the attention to Manning himself for leading the Giants and having a MVP-like season, waited for him to arrive at his table. If the Giants are to win the Lombardi Trophy, Manning emerges as the elite passer of the family, despite that he’s the little brother. Until now, he’s lived in the shadows of his brother, and not only is he arising as a stud for the Giants but growing higher than ever on the Manning family tree, a star that was born in the Manning household.

There’s no denying Eli is the most relentless and toughest player at his position, maybe even more staunch and strong-willed than his nemesis Tom Brady, who is on a mission to win a fourth ring in his fifth trip to the Super Bowl where he’s honed vividly a priceless legacy. The allure of a franchise quarterback or a brand inevitably hard to ignore in such a national scene is the buzz heard this week in Indianapolis, where Manning is playing in his brother’s house on Sunday for a chance to win his second title.

This season is only a breakout year, which Eli is well on his way that amounts to supremacy among premier quarterbacks in the NFL, a debate sweeping the whole country this week as folks pontificate and discuss whether he’s an NFL megastar. There’s no secret – a realistic premise, mind you, that he’s nearly rising to a level of brilliance and superiority.

At the beginning of the season, he had proclaimed himself among the top quarterbacks in the league. It’s no secret, it’s no lie – after all – he really is projected to be better than his brother and be verified as one of the gifted passers in the league, especially if he can again beat the Patriots and Brady to validate his legacy. You know he’s tired of playing considerably in the shadows of his brother, exhausted of impending drama, when he intrigued the crowd with his family stories during Super Bowl XLVI media day at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Tuesday afternoon.

“I am five years younger than Peyton, but growing up we would always compete,” said Manning. “When I got a little bit older, 15 or 16 years old, we could finally start being on the same level and compete in playing basketball, ping pong or pool. There is that competition.”

He should have been a national topic, an admired star of many accomplishments, when Eli has become the brand-name quarterback in American sports building a successful NFL career, much like his brother. But as expected, at his Super Bowl news conference, Manning was bombarded by Peyton questions.

It’s the week when a rematch of one of the great upsets in Super Bowl history returns, drawing the public’s interest with a topic that wouldn’t disappear on media day. If this were a script, Manning certainly was in the center of a much dramatic event, asking 13 questions during his session, six of them referring to his older brother, the Colts quarterback who missed this season because of neck surgery. It’s not surprising, considering that Peyton’s NFL future is uncertain. Now that he’s a high-profile name, he is admired more than his brother it seems.

What makes this such an epic event – absolute hype surrounding two brothers who are quarterbacks – is the name on the back of the jersey, sons of the legend himself Archie Manning. Asked how he felt about possibly winning a Super Bowl in Peyton’s place, in his brother’s house, he said – “It’s just a matter of trying to get ready for the Patriots, trying to get ready to play this game, uh, getting prepared for their defense and we’ll look back on, on the fact on playing in the Super Bowl in Peyton’s uh … in the town where he played his NFL … uh … plays, you know, play for the Colts … we’ll look on that later.”

Please, because this is supposed to be Eli’s week, not a moment that Peyton, his older brother, hijacks the spotlight. Just like the rest of us, Eli is unsure about his brother’s health status, and maybe, just maybe, he has information regarding the state of Peyton’s health. The thing is, however, this is not about Peyton. This is about Eli. It’s little brother who is playing in the Super Bowl, it’s not big brother. Guided by an old-school, impassioned Hall of Fame coach, Tom Coughlin, Manning is aware and realize that he plays a factor in the Super Bowl having been here before.

“I’m excited about being here,” said Manning. “My mindset is I’m here to play a game. This is just a Super Bowl venue. I’m not looking at the fact that this is where Peyton has played his career. I’m just trying to go out there and play my best football – and try to get a championship for the New York Giants.”

As we are hearing, of course, Manning has finesse and big game experience. You thought it was impossible for him to get back to the biggest game in pro football, followed by the criticisms that he’d never measure up to greatness or become a dynamic star player in today’s game. But he knows, you know – and I know – that he fooled us all by leading the Giants to new heights and, with that in mind, he morphed into a reliable element in New York’s surging offense.

Thankfully, he’s surrounded by a deep receiver core. Armed with weapons on each side of the field – and with that in mind – his favorite target is Victor Cruz — who has had a major impact on the Giants pulling off the late resurgence, Manning has been able to benefit with a profound supporting cast around him. He is, without much question, the rising star of football right now.

It happened at the right possible time, at a moment when the Giants are possibly the hottest team in the Super Bowl, stunning the world to return to the biggest game as underdogs, even though in reality – they can likely beat the Patriots with their fearsome, ferocious defense. For his first time ever, All-Pro Jason Pierre-Paul will play in the Super Bowl on Sunday. The formula of the Giants’ defense is stopping the run and forcing opponents to pass the ball, an advantage this team has with the best front four in the league, led by defensive end and captain Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora.

“We have the mindset that this is a new game,” said Manning. “It’s the same teams, but a lot of different make-up. What happened in the last Super Bowl doesn’t matter.”

Because he plays on a team that predominantly claims a place in NFL history, the Giants that is, Manning is simply the most dignified player behind his brother and he’s seemingly hyped for leading his team to this point, a rematch with the Patriots, a date that can define his image as a player in the league if he can again pull off the victory against New England. If this haven’t refreshed our memories of when he tossed a few breathtaking passes in the final minutes to defeat the unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl 46 four years ago, it definitely has now.

“It’s the same teams, but in our mindset, a lot of new players,” said Manning. “We had 16 guys and New England only has seven guys who were on that team. A lot of guys who are going be key factors in this game did not play in that last Super Bowl.”

He is, without doubt, tougher mentally and physically, shoved around and slammed to the turf. That is Manning, who is always hit by a storming pass rush or either escaping the bull-rush. Back in the day, he was picked 198 spot, and wasn’t pleased when San Diego selected him, so he forced a trade to the high-market Giants, where he has grown as virtually a matured, motivational leader on and off the field.

And now, he is considered the best quarterback in Super Bowl XLVI.
Written by Jonathan Mathis, Columnist (Archive/RSS)

An aspiring sports journalist, a sports columnist for three sports sites. Sports Judge is all sports. Follow @Jon9685


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!