Time for Peyton Manning to Permanently Upstage Eli
If you had gone to a gambling parlor or called upon a bookie—legitimate in nature, of course—this past August and asked what kind of odds you could get for betting that Eli would win the Super Bowl this season while Peyton would not, what would have been the reaction?
I mean, after the laughter subsided?
Had they accepted your wager, you'd be reading this column on a solid gold monitor.
And nothing is more useless than a solid gold monitor, but you'd have one anyway on account of your ludicrously excessive wealth.
It's also evidence that, while the younger Manning emerges as an efficient offensive manager, the more perceptibly-spectacular brother needs to assemble a longer and more distinguished postseason résumé for his career to be considered truly fulfilling.
The numbers indicate a general downshift after the regular season.
Peyton Manning has what could be called at best a respectable 84.4 career postseason rating from January on, with a mildly-decent 21 touchdowns compared to 17 interceptions.
His 61.8 percent completion rate completes what is a disturbingly middling group of stats for a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Compare those to his fabulous 94.7 rating for the regular season, along with a 64.2 percent success rate for passes, and it serves as a markedly disappointing contrast. The most startling regular season disparity is the fact that he has thrown for 306 touchdowns, with exactly half as many interceptions at 153; that difference is as amazing as the postseason one is mediocre.
Even his Super Bowl win, in which he went 25 for 38, gaining 247 yards with a single touchdown pass to accompany the interception he threw, was not an overwhelmingly magnificent showing, despite the personal accolades he was given by the media and Internet voters.
Frankly, Manning should have sawed his MVP award in half and given a piece each to Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes, the players who were truly the most crucial to the Colts' victory.
Of course, giving the prize to the quarterback regardless of whether other players deserve it is a tradition that began moments after the first Super Bowl's conclusion; even Bart Starr himself would admit after a few cocktails the late Max McGee, who was quite cocktailed up himself during his spectacular game, should have won.
But the reality remains that Manning still fails to consistently devastate playoff opponents.
Throw in the prominent fact that his teams have achieved a 7-7 playoff record, and gripes about his play tailing off become entirely more legitimate.
Although he comes across as genuine, Manning does seem like the sort of person who is concerned about his image.
Right now, he has to know, football-wise, that he's still perceived as a regular-season wonder, despite the fact he hoisted a Lombardi Trophy.
In that regard, Eli's new accomplishment may be good news for Colts fans, as it could motivate his ostensibly more skilled sibling to raise his level of play after the regular slate, if for no other reason than to eclipse a very close relative.
Peyton can be happy for Eli while still using, what we'll someday call with confidence, the biggest Super Bowl upset ever, as incentive.
Luckily for Peyton, he has at least a fair amount of attempts left to upstage his brother both thoroughly and permanently, considering that he'll only turn 32 in March.
Increasing his intensity level by using Eli's triumph as the impetus would do wonders for his legacy overall and for his standing at family reunions.
In the meantime, gamblers still could have made a fortune betting on how many times he appeared on-screen during the Super Bowl in the luxury box cheering on the family's third quarterback while wearing that suit coat.
I think the over/under was 6.5.
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