INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Eli Manning has long been used to living in the shadow of his older brother Peyton. Comparisons between the two quarterbacks began long before he even made it to the National Football League.
The comparisons have been mostly unfair on Eli because Peyton is a giant of the game and a future Hall of Famer.
But Eli can now boast of doing something his brother has not after leading the New York Giants to a 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
The victory provided Eli with a second Super Bowl title, one more than his older sibling. And, he was also named as the Most Valuable Player for a second time, just as he was four years ago when the Giants also beat the Patriots.
He joined Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Tom Brady as the only players to win the award more than once. Peyton has won it once.
“I‘m excited to win a championship. I‘m excited for my team mates,” Eli said.
”There are a number of guys, this is their first one. There are some other ones who are getting their second and more, but I‘m just excited for them.
“This isn’t about one person. This is about a team coming together, getting this win.”
With Peyton watching from the stands, Eli turned in a masterful performance, completing 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards, and engineering a late drive that led to the game-winning touchdown from Ahmad Bradshaw in the last minute.
“We moved the ball down the field, and Eli made some great plays,” New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said.
“His performance, coming down the stretch, was outstanding. He is the guy who has done it for us all year. He is the guy who put us in position.”
Eli was born into a world of football. His father, Archie Manning, was the second player drafted in 1971 and played quarterback for 13 NFL seasons, mostly with the New Orleans Saints.
Peyton, an 11-time Pro Bowler, was top pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. Eli was also the top pick, in 2004.
“I think it’s special because of the city here,” Archie Manning said. “This city has meant a lot to our family for 14 years.”
While Eli is rarely mentioned among the game’s elite quarterbacks, his performances over the past two months have been in a class of their own.
The Giants needed to win their last two regular season games just to make the playoffs then won four sudden-death games to claim the biggest prize in American team sports.
“I‘m just proud of our guys, proud of the team and how we fought all year,” Eli said.
“(We) never got discouraged, kept their faith and kept their confidence and just fought to the very end.”
Editing by Ian Ransom