Eli Manning has not been told whether Super Bowl 50 will be his brother’s final NFL game, but like just about everyone else, he thinks it’s a very good possibility.
“I don’t know if he knows himself or if he’s thought about it, but when you get to year 19 and you are dealing with some injuries and things going on, it’d be a good way to go out,” Eli said of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning during a conference call Wednesday. “I think because of that possibility, I hope he can win this game. And if he decides to hang it up, go out on top.”
There have been plenty of signals the older Manning brother will walk away from the game after this final shot at a title, the most glaring of which came on Sunday when he told Bill Belichick in a postgame exchange that this could be his “last rodeo.”
Peyton Manning, 39, is the oldest starting quarterback in Super Bowl history. And while he has won only one Lombardi Trophy in his three previous games, Eli Manning, who has won two Super Bowls, said that is not the measure of his big brother.
“Honestly, I think there is too much placed on rings and Super Bowl championships,” Eli Manning said. “It’s not one player, the quarterback is not the sole reason you win a championship. Peyton, his impact on the game of football will not be determined based off this one game.”
Eli Manning even said he has never given Peyton any grief over having one more championship than him.
“There are no bragging rights,” he said. “We both know that it’s a team effort, everything going the right way … I’ve never mentioned that or we’ve never compared who has more rings. It’s never been a discussion, it’s never come up in any way.”
Eli Manning said he will help Peyton however he can. He’s already shared some thoughts from the Giants’ Dec. 20 game against the Panthers, and he’ll be around to help with outside matters such as tickets and other family arrangements. Eli Manning was already going to be there as the NFL celebrates all 50 Super Bowl MVPs — and as a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award — but now he said his entire family will be in attendance.
Perhaps to see Peyton’s final game.
“I’m excited for him,” Eli Manning said. “This has been an interesting year for him from a new coach to a new offense and trying to learn that, dealing with an injury. Having to sit out for seven weeks, never done that before. Coming back as a back-up, never done that before. And now being in the Super Bowl, I’m excited for him.”