2012 Super Bowl: Eli Manning Can Escape Peyton's Shadow with a Win

Sam Schwartz@seschwartz365Correspondent IFebruary 1, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 31:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants answers question from the media during Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLVI against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 31, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Eli Manning has been criticized throughout his entire career, and he will be in the 2012 Super Bowl. 

If playing in New York was not already enough pressure for the former first overall pick, he has had to overcome the expectations that came with being the younger brother of one of the best players of this era, Peyton Manning

After Peyton and the Colts finally made it past the Patriots to earn the AFC title and eventually the Super Bowl in 2007, even more was expected from Eli.  He was able to answer the call and led the Giants to a shocking upset of the undefeated Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl. 

It took his brother half of his career to knock off Tom Brady and New England in the postseason, but Eli won on his very first try against the powerhouse.  He was honored as the game’s MVP for putting together one of the best game-winning drives in Super Bowl history. 

This was only the start of success for Eli, who was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career a year later. 

This past season, with Peyton out due to a neck injury, Eli was the only Manning in the spotlight.  Not only did he set the record for the most fourth quarter touchdown passes in league history, he also won his fourth and fifth road playoff games, to become the league leader in that category. 

He led the Giants to a second-half comeback and an overtime win in the NFC Championship Game two weeks ago against the 49ers to clinch a spot in the 2012 Super Bowl.     

Now the Giants are back in the Super Bowl against the same exact Patriots in the "House that Peyton Built," Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 

If Eli can lead the Giants to a victory on Sunday, then he would finally be able surpass his older brother, escape his shadow and forever silence his critics by winning another title.