This Sunday, the Manning Brothers will face off for third time as professionals. In the two previous meetings, as QB of the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton defeated Eli and the Giants, 26-21, in New York and again in 2006: 38-14 in Indianapolis in 2010.
This will be the first game in NFL history to feature opposing players who passed for at least 400 yards in the previous week.
The Manning brothers were the top two passers on Kickoff Weekend in terms of yardage. Peyton passed for 462 yards and an NFL record 7 TDs in the Broncos’ 49-27 win against the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens. Eli amassed 450 yards and 4 TDs in the Giants’ 36-31 loss to the Cowboys in Week 1.
Tale of the Tape (Reg season stats)
Age: Eli (32); Peyton (37)
Years active in NFL: Eli (10th); Peyton (16)
TDs: Eli (215); Peyton (443)
Pass Yards: Eli (31,977); Peyton (59,949)
Postseason record: Eli (8-3); Peyton (9-11)
Super Bowl record: Eli (2-0); Peyton (1-1)
Yesterday, in separate pressers, the brothers were asked their thoughts on each other…Peyton on Eli
Do you think Eli gets the recognition he deserves for the career he’s having?
In what ways do you think Eli is better than you on the football field?
I don’t have a good answer for you on that. I know people like to make comparisons, but that’s not something that he or I do.
Are you guys competitive with each other?
We pull for each other. We play the same sport. We have the same job. So we certainly can relate to a lot of the same things that quarterbacks go through. We worked out together this offseason a couple of times, which is always fun. We try to help each other in the offseason. It’s something like a tip here with throwing tips. I pull for Eli and I know he pulls for me as well.
How about off the football field? Is there a competitive edge between the two of you?
I don’t think so. Eli and I end up being partners a lot in golf, to tell you the truth. We’re close. It’s not really how it’s set up with he and I.
Would you trade some of the records that you have for the second Super Bowl ring that he has?
Every single year I try to do whatever I can to help my team win. Anything that comes along with that, so be it. All I was trying to do the other night was help my team win the game, whether you throw zero touchdowns or throw seven touchdowns. It’s not important as long as you win the game. The goal this year is to try to win every game and try to give yourself a position to the end. That’s the same thing every single year. You’re trying to help your team win and certainly the goal is to try to win a championship.
How was Eli supportive when you were going through your rehab?
Like all members in my family, they were all very supportive. It’s nice to have that support when you’re going through something different… kind of an unknown injury with not a real set timetable. Eli was encouraging and supportive that whole time. I certainly appreciated it.
What has Eli impressed you with the most during his career?
Eli is a great player. He’s a consistent player. I think he’s gotten better every year. I’ve always thought that’s the goal for a brand new player is to try to be a better player each year than the year you were before. He’s made things happen with different players, different receivers and different running backs. He’s been very flexible to adjust to the different players that he’s played with. But his consistency as a player has been awfully impressive.
Eli on Peyton
What are your thoughts on facing Peyton?
This is a big game for us just because we’re 0-1 right now and we need to get a win. All week in preparation, I’m worried about their defense. I’m worried about the Denver defense and trying to get a game plan and trying to go out there and play well and play smart football and score touchdowns and try to get a win. Obviously, I know who the opposing quarterback is and they’re a good offense and high-powered and obviously scored a lot of points last week, so I know we’ve got to play smart and just go out there and try to play my best.
Was there any family chatter during the offseason when the schedule came out?
No. Not a whole lot. Obviously, we knew we played this year. We didn’t know when the game would be until a few months ago and kind of figured it would be early. I was hoping it wouldn’t be the first game, so we wouldn’t have to talk about it for three months instead of just talking about it for one week. But obviously we knew it was going to happen, but there wasn’t a whole lot of conversation about it. For us, we’ve got a game to play. It will be good to see him before the game for a little bit and see him afterwards, but besides that, it’s just a football game.
Is it more of a distraction?
No. It’s still neat because it doesn’t happen very often and it is neat seeing your big brother on the sideline or seeing him before the game. Those moments are the things you remember and we’ll remember for a long time. Hopefully when I think back on these games that we played against my brother, I can think back and remember at least one win.
Do you ever think about how rare it is that two brothers are playing against one another in the NFL?
I understand it. I feel very blessed and grateful that I get to play in the NFL and obviously there are 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL right now and one of the other ones happens to be my brother. I understand that is rare. I don’t know how it quite happened. I don’t think my parents know how it quite happened. It just worked out that way, but I do feel blessed that I get to play this sport and I know Peyton feels the same way.
Given what happened to Peyton in 2011 (neck surgery), did you ever think that this day could be impossible?
I was obviously hoping that Peyton would be playing football again and rooting for him and doing everything I could to support him and try to give him feedback on his rehab and give him support as he was going through a tough time and kind of a time of unknown of what he was going to be able to do, whether it was to be able to play again or how quickly he would be able to play again. So at that moment, I was just more thinking about him and just knowing how fortunate that I am that I was playing football. You don’t know when it’s going to be over or how quickly the game can be taken away from you. So you’ve got to cherish it every day.
Is their more pressure on you to win this game because if you finish your career 0-3 against your brother you may never hear the end of it?
No. It’s pressure because we’re 0-1 right now and that’s the mindset. We’ve got to get a win from this season and this team. It’s the second game of this season. We’ve got to make improvements. We’ve got to get better. The mindset and the focus is just on this year and this being the second game of the season, it’s a big game because of that scenario.
Will you cringe if one of your defensive linemen gets a good shot at your brother?
No. I’m rooting for our defense and I want them to play well and do their job. When you’re out there a lot of times I’m not watching him and seeing exactly what he’s doing. I’m watching the game rooting for our defense, trying to support them, and hopefully they can get stops and get turnovers and play a great football game.
What was it like watching him on Thursday night (when Peyton threw 7 TDs)?
He had a great second half and made some great throws and really got on track. It’s fun. I’ve been watching Peyton for a long time. I think he started in sixth grade. I’ve seen a lot of his football games over the years. I love watching him and he’s one of the best. As a quarterback, you enjoy watching him because he plays at a high level.
You’ve played Peyton before. Is there anything that stands out from the experiences?
Yeah. It is neat to see your brother on the sidelines when the national anthem is playing and you look across and you see your big brother and you give him a nod. Those are neat moments or seeing him before the game for a little bit and just talking and seeing him at the coin flip. Those are neat moments and you do understand how special it is with both of us playing this game at a high level in the NFL. It is rare and we just appreciate the road we’ve both taken to get here and we support each other along the way. So those are special moments. Besides that, though, it’s a game. You’ve got to go out there and try to do your job.
Were you guys competitive when you were kids?
No. We didn’t really compete a whole lot just because he is five years older than me. When he left for college at 18, I was 13. There’s only so much you can compete at in sports. As I got older, we competed in a little basketball or even now we play golf. You compete a little bit, but a lot of it is a lot of fun and we enjoy being around each other and from a football standpoint, we always try to support each other, help each other, work out in the offseason, look at tape of each other and during the season we try to help each other out if we’re playing similar teams. So it’s really more of a support deal than it’s been competitive over the years.