The 2012 Super Bowl has plenty of tie-ins with the Manning family. First, you have Eli Manning, obviously. Second, you have Tom Brady who, along with Peyton, is the top quarterback of this generation and considered Peyton's rival. Third, the Super Bowl is being played in Indianapolis, home to Peyton Manning.
Because of all those Manning connections, plenty of people have spent Super Bowl week discussing Eli vs. Peyton. SB Nation's Super Bowl roundtable examines this further: If Eli wins a second Super Bowl title, can you say he's had a better career than Peyton?
Our roundtable participants are SB Nation NFL bloggers Ryan Van Bibber (Turf Show Times), David Fucillo (Niners Nation) and Jason Garrison (Cincy Jungle), as well as myself, SB Nation's NFL editor (and Arrowhead Pride).
David Fucillo: Even if Eli Manning brings home a second Super Bowl trophy, I still think Peyton has the better career, so far. Eli is off to a great start, but two trophies don't make up for his lack of overall numbers when compared to Peyton, who has essentially doubled Eli's career production. And if you look at the two through just their first eight season's, Peyton's numbers are still far superior.
If Eli can last 13 or 14 years and get his numbers closer to Peyton for his career then I would be inclined to move him past Peyton. For now, though, Eli has benefited from better defenses and better running games. He's put up solid numbers, but Peyton's body of work over 13 seasons has been amazing. Furthermore, given the team nature of football, I don't think Peyton should be discredited because the Polians let it ride on him and struggled in recent years drafting.
Jason Garrison: If Eli Manning wins a second Super Bowl, and especially if he's named the Super Bowl MVP, an argument could be made that he has completely stepped out of his brother's shadow. But I don't think he will have had the better career up to this point. Peyton Manning is a surefire Hall of Famer and we've seen how bad the Colts can be without him there.
Peyton led Indianapolis to the playoffs 11 times including a nine-season streak from 2002 to 2010. Eli, who had the benefit of being on a better overall team with a much better defense, has lead the Giants to the playoffs for the fifth time since 2004. That's still outstanding, but it's not quite as impressive as being the main reason the Colts have 11 seasons with at least 10 wins in the last 14 years.
Joel Thorman: I'm surprised both responses have said Peyton's career will clearly be better. If Eli gets his second Super Bowl victory I think he has to be nearing even with his brother. Peyton's numbers are once-in-a-generation good but at the end of the day people care about Super Bowl victories. It's why Joe Montana, only 12th on the all-time passing yards list, is in the conversation for greatest quarterback ever -- because he won four Super Bowls.
Super Bowl wins -- for better or worse -- are weighted more than the other numbers when comparing legacies, so I think a second Super Bowl victory at age 31 puts Manning on par with his brother.
Ryan Van Bibber: Peyton Manning is obviously the better quarterback. He's like Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky in the sense that his abilities are on such a higher level than anyone else on the field. He can carry a team on his own.
What Eli's had in the last few years that Peyton hasn't is a great front office. The Giants' Jerry Reese is one of the better general managers in the NFL, someone that understands the importance of keeping stocked with talent. He also has an excellent track record as a personnel evaluator, finding undrafted gems like Victor Cruz while the Colts have been throwing away draft picks over the last four years. (To be fair, Bill Polian was very good early in his tenure in Indianapolis.)
Peyton and Eli are a reminder that football is a team game. Winning is much easier with an elite quarterback. It's impossible without a competent team.