Super Bowl XLVIII: Will Peyton Manning Match Eli?

Peyton Tries to Flip the Script After Eli Won Title on Brother’s Home Field

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Super Bowl XLVIII: Will Peyton Manning Match Eli?
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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

COMMENTARY | When it comes to the participants in Super Bowl XLVIII and one of the two New York teams playing host to football's biggest game, Peyton Manning might think twice about taking any guidance from his younger brother, Eli Manning.

After all, it was Peyton's Denver Broncos who crushed Eli's New York Giants, 41-23, at MetLife Stadium, back in Week 2. Although Eli passed for more yards (362-307) than Peyton, he completed two fewer passes (30-28) in six more attempts (49-43), and had one touchdown and four interceptions while his big brother tossed a pair of touchdowns and avoided a turnover.

That game was 13 weeks before Denver's Super Bowl opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, visited the same building and likewise, manhandled the Giants, 23-0, as Eli threw a career-high five interceptions.

Based on those two results, it's understandable if Peyton says, "Thanks, but no thanks" to any of Eli's words of wisdom -- unless Eli's assistance consists of something along the lines of: "See what I did in those two games at MetLfie, Peyton? Well, don't do that!"

Nevertheless, Eli will still try to help Peyton with some brotherly advice about dealing with the notorious Meadowlands wind before the Broncos and Seahawks make a return trip to the Giants' home field, with each trying to secure the NFL's biggest prize on February 2.

Little Brother Helping Big Brother

Whatever help Eli can offer Peyton, it will wisely be for his brother's ears only.

"I might have a few things for him," Eli said. "But I don't want to reveal that, because I don't want to give it to [Seattle quarterback] Russell Wilson. So any tips I may have wind-wise, I would tell him in private."

One thing going for Peyton is that the havoc the MetLife Stadium wind can inflict on NFL passing games isn't quite to the level of Eli's old home of Giants Stadium, which rested just steps away, until its final game on January 3, 2010 (featuring the Giants' current co-tenants, the New York Jets).

"The old stadium definitely had a specific end zone and corner that you wouldn't want to throw into if it was going to be a windy night," Eli said. "If it is one of those windy days, then there is a little bit of local knowledge that you can give. But it's definitely not as bad as the old stadium."

So perhaps Eli's experience can be a valuable asset with that, but if snow, rain, or sleet should descend upon the new Meadowlands stadium for the game (and there's a decent chance of that happening), Peyton might be on his own.

An Ironic Super Bowl Twist for the Manning Boys

Bad weather, though, will only make the game even more interesting than it already is, as Peyton tries to accomplish on Eli's home field, what Eli did on Peyton's, in Indianapolis, while winning his second Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award, in Super Bowl XLVI.

"It's kind of ironic that Eli played in the Super Bowl when it was in Indianapolis, and now we get to flip that, so it's funny how that works out," Peyton said on CBS-TV, moments after Denver beat the New England Patriots in the AFC title game on January 19.

Funny indeed, since that couldn't have happened until only two years ago, and all of a sudden it will, in the small space of just three seasons. There had never been a Super Bowl in Indianapolis before then, and the same for East Rutherford, New Jersey until this year.

Throw in how unlikely it is that a pair of brothers not only play quarterback in the NFL, but that each are good enough to be Super Bowl MVPs, and it makes for an interesting subplot that within just two years and three Super Bowls, one brother can possibly pay another back for winning a Super Bowl on the other's field.

A Denver Win Puts Peyton Back on Top in the Manning Household

If that happens, Eli will lose the few things he still has over Peyton. Thus far, Peyton can claim a better overall career, but Eli has an all-important 2-1 edge in Super Bowl wins and Super Bowl MVPs, as well as that NFL title he won in the house that Peyton built, in Indianapolis.

But with a single win against the Seahawks, Peyton can even his sibling score with Eli on at least two of those accounts at once, and in a third way, if he were to also win his second Super Bowl MVP.

At nearly 38 years of age, after overcoming recent neck surgeries, Super Bowl XLVIII might be the last chance that Peyton has of tying Eli in Super Bowl wins and MVPs. And it's practically a certainty that he'd never get another chance to win on Eli's home field.

Of course, Eli will be rooting hard for Peyton and Denver to beat Seattle, just as he did for Peyton to get to this point. But as nice as Eli is as a person and a brother, there might just be that small part of him which also wouldn't mind holding on to his bragging rights if the Seahawks win.

Jonathan Wagner is a Yahoo Sports contributor covering the New York Knicks, New York Giants and New York Mets. He also covers the Knicks, Hofstra University men's basketball and the New York Cosmos for New York Sports Day. Follow him on Twitter, @JonathanJWagner, and read more of his work at the newly-launched Jon Wagner Sports.

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