No Mannings Remain In Playoff Contention, but Eli Manning is Excited Anyway
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: January 17, 2013
Admit it: it's a little strange not to have an active Manning brother at this point in the season. Four of the past six Super Bowls (XLI, XLII, XLIV, and XLVI) have featured either Peyton with the Indianapolis Colts or Eli with the New York Giants, but with the Giants missing the playoffs altogether and the Broncos' stunning double-overtime elimination from the Divisional Round at the hands of Baltimore, we'll be Manning-free from here on out. Unless you count a Bowl of a whole different integrity.
You guessed it. The Pro Bowl. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers declined his invite yesterday, citing a litany of injuries, which opened the door for Eli to join his big brother; Peyton is the AFC's starter. Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger took a few moments to get caught up with the younger Manning, who expressed excitement at the opportunity to essentially vacation with family:
"I haven’t seen him much, so it will be good to have a week with him and get to hang out, and I’ll have my daughter there and he’ll have his kids. We’ll have them be around each other. It will be fun just to be with him in the afternoons after practice and get to hang out.”
Manning said he hadn't seen his brother since June or July, explaining that the distance and busy football schedule had kept them apart. It's entirely understandable that he would be looking forward to a week of relaxation and sun with Peyton and his family, and perhaps after last Saturday's crushing loss in Denver, Peyton could use the time himself. Eli addressed the playoff loss with Vrenta:
“I really haven’t talked to him, but any time obviously, a season ends, you’re disappointed. Whether you’re in the playoffs or not, the season’s over and it’s always tough especially as you get older. That was possibly another chance to win a championship and obviously couldn’t get it done, but you keep working hard to give yourself another chance so if it comes up you’re ready for it.”
It sounds like Eli was effectively reflecting on his own season as much as Peyton's. Both brothers will walk away from this season disappointed: Eli's Giants missed the playoffs entirely as defending Super Bowl Champions and Peyton's Broncos locked up the AFC's top seed by winning eleven consecutive games (all in decisive fashion) only to fall terribly short.
Eli's frustrations are perfectly reasonable, but he has health, relative youth and two Super Bowl rings that could provide relative comfort. His big brother, on the other hand, will be 37 in 2013, one season removed from four neck injuries, with a 9-11 postseason legacy and one lone Super Bowl win hanging over his head for the next twelve months. Peyton returned to the NFL at his age for the sole purpose of earning another ring, but it won't be happening for at least another year.
So for now, it's a good thing he has a trip to Hawaii and some quality family time on the horizon.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @KimOHaraTFG
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