Older brother Peyton, an already-accomplished NFL quarterback by that time, was having success of his own in Indianapolis.
This article, though, is not about Peyton Manning. It's time to give Eli the credit he deserves as a franchise, Super Bowl quarterback who wins games and puts up big numbers.
Other than their last name, actually, Eli and Peyton are two of the most different people in the NFL.
While Peyton bucked the family trend and went to rival Tennessee, Eli stayed home at Ole Miss.
Peyton was happy to even be drafted into the NFL, despite having to spend his career in small-market Indianapolis, but Eli demanded that he play under the big lights of a big city and got his wish.
Lastly of the big differences, Peyton goes out of his way to look like the most aware player on the field, showing colorful displays of emotion and calling a healthy number of pre-play audibles, while Eli is happily complacent on the field, preferring his obliviousness.
This article, though, is not about comparing Eli to Peyton either. It's time to give Eli the credit he deserves as his own man and his own football player who will be playing for it all in Super Bowl XLVI.
With his 27,579 career passing yards, Manning is 51st on the all-time of quarterbacks, the highest such number or ranking for any quarterback under 31 years old.
Past his impressive yardage figures, Manning is even more stellar when it comes to touchdown passes, having thrown a total of 185 (good for 42nd on the all-time list and still the highest of anyone 31 or under).
With one Super Bowl ring under his belt, there is no doubt that a second title would guarantee Eli Manning entry into the Hall of Fame.
New York obsesses over Broadway Joe's "guarantee," but we tend to ignore that Eli Manning basically guaranteed that he'd be able to live up to the bright lights of New York on Draft Day 2004 and he's done just that.
Also, this summer, Manning guaranteed that he's in the same class as Tom Brady.
Though he didn't come outright and use the words "I guarantee," if Manning wins today, he will have fulfilled a guarantee that he made in 2004 and reaffirmed in the summer of 2011.
Manning guaranteed that he's a Hall of Famer and it will be him, not Peyton, who could walk away from today with two Super Bowl rings.
This article is not about Peyton Manning. It's time to give Eli Manning the credit he deserves as a Hall of Famer if he wins today.