Archie Manning’s NFL career never resulted in a playoff appearance, man did Karma make up for it with his sons. While Archie toiled away on a terrible New Orleans Saints teams his sons, Peyton and Eli, have both won Super Bowls. No wonder people refer to the Mannings as the "First Family of Football."
For only the second time in their respective careers, Eli and Peyton will square off against one another as the Giants visit the Colts. The first game where the Brother's Manning faced off was the season opener for the 2006 season.
Peyton's Colts defeated Eli's Giants in a close game, 26-21. Eli went 20 for 34 for 247 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Peyton completed 25 out of 41 for 276 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Just like the last game, this game will be sure to include plenty of cut-away shots to whatever press box Archie and Olivia Manning are in where they will be obviously nervous and uncomfortable.
If Eli and Peyton had different last names we wouldn’t compare them much. Sure they both were No.1 picks and both have Super Bowl MVPs but in reality they are very different people.
Peyton is obviously the better quarterback and their personalities couldn’t be more different. Peyton is hyper-kinetic; he almost leaks energy everywhere he goes. Eli by contrast has ice water in his veins; nothing good or bad seems to elicit much reaction.
But they are brothers, and they are playing each other next Sunday so let the comparisons begin.
6’4" 225 pounds
No.1 overall pick 2004
College: Ole Miss
Completion Percentage: 57 percent
Regular Season Wins: 51
Regular Season Losses: 43
Playoff Wins: Four
Playoff Losses: Three
1x Super Bowl MVP
1x Pro Bowler
6’5" 230 Pounds
No.1 overall pick 1998
Completion Percentage: 64.8 percent
Regular Season Wins: 131
Regular Season Losses: 68
Playoff Wins: Nine
Playoff Losses: Nine
1x Super Bowl MVP
10x Pro Bowler
4x League MVP
8x All Pro
When Eli was being evaluated coming out of Ole Miss one of the most noted aspects of his game was that he was more athletic than Peyton. Scouts aren’t alone in this assessment; even Archie has admitted that Eli is the better athlete.
Both Eli and Peyton have above average arm-strength, but Eli’s is near elite level, Peyton is not. Eli also shows better escape ability on in the pocket, better scrambling ability and looks much more natural on boot-legs and role outs.
This is not to say that Peyton is a bad athlete, just that Eli is a better athlete. Put the two of them on a basketball court and Eli would look the more natural athlete, because he is.
Eli’s arm is strong enough to have muscled in passes through the corner-stadium winds of the old Meadowlands. You need to have an incredibly strong arm to do that.
Both players show excellent fluidness in their hips, showing perfect form when throwing the football. As well both players are excellent manipulating their release points to avoid defensive lineman.
Still Eli is better than Peyton at making athletic throws when flushed from the pocket and on the run. Still it’s not like either of them is Vince Young or anything, the last thing you want is a Manning running for his life.
As much as Eli is a better athlete Peyton is that much better than Eli at the mental aspect of the game. Peyton might be the only quarterback in the NFL who more or less calls his own plays. Peyton’s name tag on his locker should also say “Offensive Coordinator” in my opinion.
While Eli can muscle some throws that Peyton can’t, Peyton can think of throws that Eli can’t. Peyton is also the best at the NFL at manipulating defenses pre-snap. If he wants a safety out of the box, he will get him out of the box by manipulating the offense, forcing the defense to respond. Eli is good at this, but Peyton is the grandmaster.
The mental aspect of the game is also where I take into consideration throwing accuracy. Accuracy isn’t just about physical accuracy, but knowing mentally where the ball should go. Again Eli is good at this, getting better. Peyton is the grandmaster.
Peyton is not worried about individual cornerbacks, just schemes. Peyton is one of the few NFL quarterbacks who can consistently put the ball where only the receiver can catch it. The only thing he worries about is what scheme the defense is running, so he can exploit it.
Eli has rare responsibility at the line of scrimmage for the Giants, as he has an almost endless list of audibles and the ability to change protection schemes.
But only Peyton calls his own plays, and only Peyton can make the throws he makes because of his chess like approach to the game.
In this department the quarterbacks are closer than many people think. Both have an exceptional feel for the game, being able to understand what they want to do and a defense wants to do without thinking.
I hate to bash a guy while he is down but when you watch Kyle Boller play quarterback you can see the wheels turning pre-snap. “Locate that guy, four count hut, two audible possibilities, three step drop, first option this guy, second that guy, blah blah blah.”
When you watch Eli and Peyton pre-snap, sure they are evaluating the situation, but you don’t see the wheels turning. Instead it feels like you are watching a well-oiled machine, a computer designed to breakdown football information at breakneck speed.
The main aspect where Peyton’s instincts are better than Eli is his field awareness. Peyton can understand that if a defense is playing a receiver in a specific way that means they are playing another brand of coverage on the other side of the field. Peyton can understand that without looking, that is why you see Peyton make what looks like no-look passes. He looks, but it is only for a millisecond to verify what he already knows.
Eli cannot do this on a consistent basis the way that Peyton can, and it is one of the reasons why Eli’s pick numbers were so high early in his career. Eli can get tunnel vision, just staring down his intended target.
However this comes with a caveat, when Eli Manning is in the zone his instincts are unmatched. Eli doesn’t reach this nirvana level of football often, mostly in important games, but when he does it’s like he sees the field from a third-eye view in slow motion. When Eli is in this zone, he can go toe to toe with any quarterback and beat them.
So while Peyton has better instincts on a consistent basis, Eli is closer to Peyton than you might think.
Eli Manning is known as Eazy-E, a guy with ice water for blood. Peyton is known as the hyperactive frenetic guy, someone who shuffles his feet in the pocket a million times per second (not really but you get the idea).
For me when evaluating which quarterback is the more clutch comes down to one issue, Peyton seems to not play as well as he could in clutch situations and Eli seems to play better than he normally does in clutch factors.
Peyton has gotten better at this, I have noticed him over the last few years becoming calmer in stressful situations, but sometimes that frenetic hyper guy comes through. If this were a discussion of early Peyton Manning and Eli now it would be Eli by a mile.
However Peyton this is a comparison of the quarterbacks now, and it must be said that when it comes to regular season clutchness Peyton is unmatched. He can be a precision machine, unstoppable and as dependable as the tide.
But when it comes to big games, like playoffs, end of season games with playoff implications and dare I say the Super Bowl I would rather have Eli as my quarterback, he is just less likely to let his emotions affect him and more likely to plug into that unstoppable zone mode.
So while this is really close, I give the edge to Eli.
Again this is a category that Peyton wins by a mile. Every single play is a big play possibility with Peyton. And if a defense shows even the slightest sign of weakness Peyton will find it and exploit it.
Eli, not so much. While part of that early in Eli’s career was that he had gigantic possession wide receivers even with his new and improved big-play bunch Peyton is better. Can anyone honestly say that the Giants wide receiver’s core wouldn’t produce more big plays if Peyton were there quarterback instead of Eli? Of course not.
The stats back this up to so that it is almost unmistakable. Eli’s best season touchdown total? 27. Peytons? 49.
Now it must be said that part of this is offensive scheme. Eli plays in a power running attack and Tom Coughlin will never change that philosophy. It would be the same if he had Eli or Peyton. Peyton plays in a pass-happy attack with a predictable running game.
In other words Peyton has to pass and Eli doesn’t. But that doesn’t change that fact that Peyton is just flat better at it than Eli is. It’s not even close.
Peyton wins my breakdown of the Brother’s Manning by 3-2 but in reality it is not that close. Peyton is the better quarterback, a lock for the Hall of Fame and is in the running to go down as the greatest quarterback of all time.
Eli is not. In fact I think it would take at least two more Super Bowls for Eli to even be considered a Hall of Fame possibility.
But as always this comes with a caveat.
Eli is the rare quarterback that, when he enters the zone, can go toe to toe with any quarterback in any game and come out the winner. Eli is the guy who can beat Tom Brady in a game of clutch, or outscore Tony Romo. A true wild card.
So when the two face off this Sunday everyone will know which Manning is the better quarterback, but no one knows who will walk away the victor.
Did fate make it up to Archie Manning or what?