MIKE SILVA: Statistically there isn’t much of a comparison between Eli and Peyton Manning through their age-30 season. Peyton had 275 touchdowns, a QB Rating of 94.4 and was named the league MVP twice at that point in his career. He also won his one and only Super Bowl during that season.
Through age-30 Eli Manning’s statistics pale in comparison. He’s thrown 185 touchdowns, has a QB Rating of 82.1, and yet to win an MVP trophy. The early years of Eli’s career were uneven, but he’s been “Peyton-esque” at times the last three seasons. Unlike Peyton, it took him about five years to find his way into the class of elite quarterbacks in the league. The difference is that “Peyton’s little brother” has played his best on the biggest stage in the biggest city.
Despite the fact that Peyton is statically dominant, there can be a case that Eli’s playoff heroics have surged him ahead in terms of career accomplishments. Peyton has too many awards and records to list, but the big stat is Super Bowls; 2-1 in favor of Eli. Don’t forget the 5 playoff road wins- an NFL record- that has seen Eli win two games in Lambeau Field, one in Dallas, and one in San Francisco. In each of those scenarios the Giants were considered underdogs. Of course, Eli has slayed the ultimate dragon by destroying the Patriots perfect season in 2007 and breaking their hearts again this past January. If not for the younger Manning, the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady duo would be undefeated in Super Bowls; perhaps cementing them as the greatest coach/QB tandem in NFL history.
It’s hard to compare Peyton vs. Eli because their careers don’t completely overlap. They also have gone through different growing pains, learning curves and play in completely different markets. At their best, you probably can’t go wrong. I, however, boil it down to one thing: how they perform when the lights are the brightest.
You want a great quarterback? Give me Peyton. You want a championship quarterback? Give me Eli.
CHRIS PUMMER: Football being a team sport, I don’t think Eli Manning’s two Super Bowl titles puts him in the same class as his older brother.
It’s true that the Super Bowl is football’s biggest stage, and the younger Manning has walked across that stage twice without tripping. But is Eli’s 2-0 record in the big game really that much more impressive than Peyton going 1-1? Eli’s individual performance in the playoffs really hasn’t been measurably better than Peyton, who has eight more games on his ledger.
So Eli has won more hardware in fewer attempts? Maybe. Or perhaps Peyton Manning is just so good, that a few of those Indy teams wouldn’t have been near the playoffs without him.
The facts are that Peyton Manning has a statistical case for being among the very best to ever play the game, and no number of Super Bowl titles can make a lesser QB his equal. Eli Manning won’t be confused for his brother the same way there’s no conversation about Troy Aikman and his three Super Bowl wins being better than Dan Marino, who is arguably the greatest QB ever, yet he failed to win a championship.