Has Eli Manning finally proven that he is, as he claimed in the face of much ridicule at the start of the season, one of the NFL's truly elite quarterbacks? After leading the New York Giants to a Super Bowl victory over the indisputably elite Tom Brady and his New England Patriots for the second time since 2008, the consensus answer is resoundingly "yes." But a new question arises: Does winning a second Super Bowl ring make Eli a better quarterback than his older brother Peyton? Despite having a legendary, record-setting career, the Indiana Colts QB — who was forced to sit out this season with a neck injury — has only won one Super Bowl. Does that mean Eli is better than Peyton?
Yep. Eli is better when it counts: Peyton may be "more decorated than his brother" when it comes down to regular-season stats, says Eddie Pryce at Bleacher Report. But Eli is "more decorated where it matters most." Quarterbacks shouldn't be measured purely on passing yards and QB ratings, but on the less tangible "greatness" factor. By that metric, Eli — with his two Super Bowl rings, two Super Bowl MVPs, and demonstrated ability as a reliable clutch performer — "has garnered much more widespread respect as a weapon in this league." When it comes to winning games late in the season, when it counts the most, Eli trumps Peyton, hands down.
"Who's the better Manning, Peyton or Eli Manning?"
No way. Peyton is a legend: Eli's boosters "can't be serious," says The Denver Post. Just a year ago, fans debated whether Peyton was a better quarterback than all-time greats Joe Montana, John Elway, and Johnny Unitas. Now, after missing just one season, his credentials have been so unceremoniously devalued that his inferior-in-every-way brother is being called a better QB just because he won a big game? Peyton averaged 4,218 passing yards over 13 seasons. That creams Eli's 3,447-yard season average. And it's not like Peyton hasn't won — he has a Super Bowl ring. On Sunday, Eli proved that he is great… but not that great.
"Super Bowl XLVI: Eli Manning? Better than Peyton? Only time will tell"
We put way too much stock in championships: This ridiculous conversation is symptomatic of a larger problem, says Brad Wells at SB Nation. "As fans and media, we overvalue championships." Using Super Bowl rings as a measure of greatness is lazy and doesn't stand up to argument. If his two rings makes Eli a better QB than Peyton, does it also make him a better player than Drew Brees, Steve Young, and Brett Favre — who have each won just one championship? Does two rings trump Peyton's four MVP awards? His 10 straight playoff bids? "Instead of rewarding winning," sports fans should reward "overall great play." And overall, Peyton is greater player than Eli.
"The inevitably stupid 'is Eli now better than Peyton' question?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Gamergate might be gaming sexism's Waterloo
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
Subscribe to the Week