Super Bowl XLVI: Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning, Analyzing Showdown of Elite QBs

Christopher SmithCorrespondent IIIJanuary 24, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 6:    Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots congratulates  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants after the New York Giants 24-20 win on November 6, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Almost everybody agrees that when it comes to wins and losses, the quarterback gets too much of the blame and too much of the credit.

But nobody should argue when I tell you that either Tom Brady or Eli Manning will be responsible for the victory of Super Bowl XLVI on February 4, 2012 in Indianapolis. 

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are steering the New England Patriots into their fifth Super Bowl in the last decade. The dynamic duo took home three Super Bowl wins in four years and lost their fourth to these New York Giants in 2007, but honestly did you not know that already?

On the other end, the Giants—captained by Manning and head coach Tom Coughlin—head into their second Super Bowl in four years. But with a bit of a different look. 

What's so different about this Giants team?

Eli Manning.

Four years ago, Eli was surrounded by question marks.

Who knew what Eli could do? Could he be as promising as his brother Peyton?

Would Eli ever be elite, or was this kid just riding a hot streak with a good team?

These questions are answered. Eli is elite and he knows how to win games.

If beating the undefeated Patriots of 2007 wasn't enough to prove Eli's status, his team's run this season should be.

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots drops back to pass against the New York Giants the second half of Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Giants
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Instead of confusion and a temper tantrum following a bad play or poorly-thrown ball, Eli answers adversity with strength and determination. He responds to poor play by himself and his teammates with a proper and respectful attitude and makes adjustments on the field.

The NFC title game was enough to prove to me that this kid has what it takes to win whenever he's asked to do so.

Manning threw 58 passes on Sunday and was sacked six times. He never turned over the ball.

The Giants have played what are essentially five consecutive playoff games to earn their right into this year's World Championship of football.

This team had to beat the Jets, the Cowboys, the Falcons, the Packers and the 49ers to make it this far. A loss in any of these games would have led to an inevitable end to their season.

Meeting the Giants is a Patriots team that's taken ten straight games, ten straight opponents, chewed them up and spit them out—including the media-driven Tebow-time-consumed Denver Broncos twice.

Leading them to battle is a battle-hardened Brady that's just passed John Elway for fourth all-time in passing yards in the postseason.

If you're looking for playoff experience, look no further.

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants walks off the field after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 during Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizo
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

If you're looking for a guy that knows exactly how much these games mean, then you're still on the right track.

Brady's postseason intensity has been commented on by his teammates, and he answers mistakes by himself and his team with a fiery resolve and fortitude that's seemingly been forged in the depths of hell.

There's no quarterback in this league that's more terrifying in big games than he.

These quarterbacks are on a collision course in two weeks for what should live up to be one of the best Super Bowl rematches in history.

Can Eli do the unthinkable, lead his previously 6-6 team to victory and steal another Lombardi trophy from the Boston area?

Or will Brady add a pinky ring to his ensemble as the Patriots' maniacal offense runs through the Giants' powerfully structured front four?

Manning comes into this game with an impressive 103.1 QB rating throughout the playoffs.

Brady is limping after a two-interception performance against a difficultly cracked Ravens defense this past Sunday.

Manning holds the edge after defeating Brady in Gillette Stadium in Week 9 and of course during SB XLII.

Brady holds a chip on his shoulder after having what would have been claim to the only 19-0 season in NFL history ripped from his hands and held in front of him on a world stage just four years ago.

The Clash of the Titans came to fruition in 2007, and the Wrath of the Titans will take place next month. This isn't a Hollywood production, but rather the vengeful fate that Brady has laid forth for the Giants when they meet on neutral ground at Lucas Oil Field.

My thoughts?

Rarely does Brady have two bad games in a row. He'll be expected to perform at a championship level, and odds are that he will.

Manning on the other hand has further ensured his status as an elite QB in the NFL. Though at least for one more year, he'll stay on an even keel with his brother Peyton with just one Super Bowl ring.


Christopher Smith is a Featured Columnist on Follow him on Twitter @MileHighMentor and keep up to date as a fan at Christopher Smith on