One undeniable fact could be taken from Sunday’s epic Super Bowl: You don’t want Eli Manning to have the ball with less than five minutes in the fourth quarter.
That's the highest compliment you can give to the most powerful position in sports.
And I think for a lot of sports fans, they are having a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that they’re paying that compliment to Manning.
He has the disposition of a shy late-blooming eighth-grade boy. He doesn’t look like a killer. Icebox (from the nineties Rick Moranis kids movie “Little Giants”) looks more intimidating in a Giants jersey than Manning.
But what Manning did in the Giants 21-17 Super Bowl win was nothing short of unfathomable. He’s given a legitimate argument to the debate that he’s as good — and could go on to be better — than the two pillars of the NFL from the last decade, Tom Brady and his older brother Peyton Manning.
Peyton’s kid brother now has won more Super Bowl rings than his sibling considered to be one of the greatest of all-time. He has one fewer than Peyton’s nemesis Brady, but he’s beat him in two head-to-head Super Bowl matchups.
Eli is a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to his ability to go for the throat.
Was he on a great team?
As painful as it is to admit the Giants are the best, yes he was. I’d rather go to a Nickelback concert than go up against the freak show that is New York’s defensive line.
But without Eli, the Giants aren’t even a playoff team.
Even before he led a two-score comeback in the final five minutes versus the Cowboys on Dec. 11, he had led five fourth-quarter game winning drives. That moved them to 7-6 in a tie with the Cowboys for the division lead.
The next week they lost to the Redskins, but beat the cross-town rival Jets and the Cowboys again in two win-or-go home scenarios.
Twice Eli has been given the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance to win the Super Bowl.
Twice he’s delivered.
Brett Favre and Peyton can’t say that. Lately Brady can’t say that. And Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have never even gotten the chance to say that.
I hate the Giants.
Every time I see Brandon Jacobs I want to punch him in that oversized watermelon he calls a head. But I have nothing but the upmost admiration and respect for “The Little Brother.”
I have two older brothers of my own and let me tell you it’s not an easy thing to break the mental edge they have on you. He and Peyton were very civil throughout all the sibling rivalry hype the last couple of weeks, but you know deep down they each want to be better than the other.
That’s what’s great about brothers.
The good ones make each other better. And Eli and Peyton are some of the best. But Eli has made today a day for little brothers everywhere to raise there glasses high and say, “Hey bro, hold the keys to my Corvette while I kiss my Lombardi Trophy.”