Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 9/13/13
Peyton and Eli Manning are far and away the most successful combination of brothers in NFL history despite claims from the McCown family to the contrary and they face off for the third time this weekend. As it stands Peyton holds a 2-0 lead over his younger sibling Eli (whose full name is apparently Elisha) having beaten him in 2006 and 2010. The third meeting between the two will quite possibly be the last time they face off in the NFL as Peyton’s career enters its twilight. Before the two face off on Sunday, it would be good to have a retrospective look at where both of their careers were at the times of the previous Manning Bowls compared to where they are now. Manning Bowl I – 2006 Week 1: Indianapolis (26) -d- New York (21) As both Manning brothers prepared to open up their 2006 campaigns in the Meadowlands, both men were under significant pressure from local media outlets but for very different reasons. Eli, entering his third season in the league and second as the starter had lead the Giants to a division title the year before. His performances in the run into the playoffs left plenty to be desired. Given the significant price New York paid to acquire Eli’s rights, fans were expecting an instant star. Peyton meanwhile had done all he could to establish himself in the regular season topping the league in many statistical categories, his playoff collapses were notorious. After another collapse the year before at home against the Steelers Peyton was faced with questions about whether or not he could ever produce in the playoffs. In the game Peyton was able to carry his team to a victory throwing for nearly 300 yards but it was far from vintage showing. Eli meanwhile got off to a strong start with an efficient completion percentage and throwing for two touchdowns but it was not enough. Peyton and Eli Manning after their first meeting Manning Bowl II – 2010 Week 2: Indianapolis (38) -d- New York (14) Four years later, the Giants travelled to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and both Manning’s were in the prime of their careers. Both had won a Super Bowl in between meetings and Peyton was coming off a loss to the Saints the season prior. Eli had won his opening game over Washington while Peyton had dropped his against the Texans. At this stage Eli was a 29 year old looking for his second Super Bowl title and to finally silence the vocal critics of his inconsistent play. His near-perfect run to the championship in 2007 had given fans expectation that he could play at that high of a level every game but consistent late season fadeouts had brought back the questions about whether or not he was truly an elite quarterback. Peyton’s legend had grown after a 2009 season that was arguably his best ever as he carried an undermanned roster into the Super Bowl. He had claimed his fourth NFL MVP award and at age 34, he was still hopeful of claiming that second Super Bowl title before his career ended. Winning that second ring would add to the argument that Manning is one of, if not the greatest quarterback of all time. The concerns of his postseason fadeouts would still be present, but a second title on his resume would balance out many of the failures. On the field the game turned out to be very anticlimactic as Manning and the Colts led 24-0 at halftime as the Colts blitzed the Giants in primetime. Manning Bowl III – 2013 Week 2: Denver -vs- New York Giants 2011 saw the Manning’s experience contrasting fortunes as Peyton missed the entire season with a neck injury while Eli managed to claim his second Super Bowl title. Peyton returned in 2012 with the Denver Broncos and went 13-3 while Eli finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs. With Peyton at age 37, this is likely to be his final chance to play against his brother’s team as his career appears to be winding down. Eli meanwhile would love to have one last shot as his big brother and get one on the scoreboard. With the game being the Giants home opener (and not on primetime for the first time) they will be looking to rebound from their six-turnover loss to Dallas last week. Denver meanwhile wants to continue their momentum from a dominating opening week victory over the Ravens. History and trends suggest that the Broncos will come in and get a victory but nothing is certain until the game is played out on the field.
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