The Manning Bowl: Football’s royal family meets again
It’s pretty safe to say that the Mannings are like football royalty.
Both Peyton Manning and his little brother Eli are two of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League today. Peyton holds nearly every passing record a quarterback can have, such as most seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards, most regular games with at least 300 passing yards and most completions in a decade, just to name a few.
Eli, on the other hand, has established himself as an elite playoff quarterback in the NFL with two Super Bowl wins and two Super Bowl MVP awards.
As popular as these two signal callers are, it’s no surprise that the football world turns all its attention towards the rare moments in which the two line up against each other.
Historically speaking, Peyton has been the better of the two brothers in head-to-head match ups. He is a perfect 3-0 against his little brother. Even though two of those games have been close and decided in the last minute of the game, Peyton always has the upper-hand, seemingly proving that he is the better ballplayer.
This year’s Manning Bowl was particularly significant for many reasons, one of those reasons being that this might be the last time we see the Mannings play against each other. The sun is quickly setting on Peyton’s career, and it is estimated that he only has a couple of years left in the league. On the other hand, Eli and his team are going in the opposite direction that Peyton and the Denver Broncos are traveling. They came into the week two match up after losing their season opener, ranked dead last in rushing and 24 in defense, both of which have been the Giants’ identity in previous years.
Going into the game, the Broncos were 3.5-point favorites. For a while, it appeared as if the game would come down to the wire just as it had in the past. But then Peyton Manning and his high-octane offense started churning. The final score was 41-23, with Peyton throwing for 307 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Giants’ defense and its non-existent pass rush.
The major concern coming out of this game was how Eli and the Giants could let the game get so out of hand. The simple answer is that the supporting cast of Eli came up painfully short of expectations. His receivers were dropping balls left and right and the rushing game was practically absent with the supposed breakout star David Wilson being held to 21-yards on 19 carries. As a result, Eli began to force throws and threw four interceptions in the process.
At the end of the day, the game was not what most people expected it to be. It was assumed that it would be four-quarter war between two teams and two quarterbacks that have been truly great over the past couple of years. Sadly, the game ended up being a blowout by the third quarter. This game will probably not affect either of the players’ long-term legacies, but Peyton can always say that he got the upper hand on his little brother.
Most notably, in the post-game interview, Peyton said he was happy that his team got the win and that he was proud of his team, but his body language clearly did not match his words. He took no pleasure in beating his brother in the manner that he did. He did what had to be done, but it was clear that he would rather have won in a nail-biter than to watch his beloved brother and his team get blown out. In the end, Eli is still Peyton’s little brother and it was obvious to all that it was painful for Peyton to see his brother struggle the way that he did on that Sunday night.