The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

In the endzone: Fans debate brotherly battle on field

3 min read
Darrell Green, former Washington Redskins’ cornerback and member of the NFL Hall of Fame, comes to the University of Mary Washington with plenty of goals as a special assistant for student athletes, and none of them are football related.

By NATE MARKLEPeyton_Manning_-_Broncos

The third Manning Bowl between the Denver Broncos and New York Giants took place on Sunday, Sept. 15, and, for the third time, Peyton was the Manning brother to reap the rewards.

However, there still exists a party that adamantly argues on the part of the other brother, Eli.

Fans of Eli often fixate on his two Super Bowl rings, presenting them as evidence of supremacy.

Yes, Team Eli, Peyton does have only one Super Bowl victory under his belt, but that point is moot as he holds an advantage in every other football related statistic.

The Manning boys both experienced tremendous success in the NFL, but Peyton has a resume that reads like an epic.

On average, Peyton throws 31 touchdowns per year while Eli boasts a median of 23 touchdowns a season.

Peyton also averages fewer interceptions and more yardage per season. The elder brother demonstrated his dominance even more with his four MVP awards, a NFL record.

What makes Peyton’s numbers more astounding is the cast of players he has achieved such greatness with.

Eli’s career has largely benefited from the support of two elite receivers in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, and a strong rushing attack.

Peyton accomplished most of his feats without the threat of a run game. Peyton has not had a top 10 rusher in his backfield since Edgerrin James.

Also, Peyton has, at times, made receivers like Austin Collie, Anthony Gonzalez and Jacob Tamme look like bona fide stars.

Those who believe one more Super Bowl win qualifies as evidence for Eli’s superiority over Peyton should take another look at the box score. In neither of the championship victories did Eli astound.

The Giants’ first win over the Patriots can be attributed to a stout defense spearheaded by Hall of Famer Michael Strahan.

Strahan’s squad sacked Tom Brady five times and held the Patriots’ rushing attack 45 yards and a mere 2.8 yards per carry average.

The only reason Eli gets so much credit is because he is a quarterback and was part of David Tyree’s helmet catch, one of the quintessential Super Bowl moments.

Eli’s second ring was again the product of a stellar defense and solid rushing game.

The younger Manning was good, but not great, in the 2012 Super Bowl, passing for nearly 300 yards and one touchdown. Ultimately, the game was sealed by the Patriots’ inability to register scores on the Big Blue’s fearsome defense.

Chase Blackburn, who hauled in a decisive interception, should be remembered as the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI hero.

Lastly, it is absurd to weigh players’ legacies so heavily on championships.

For example, Mark Rypien, Brad Johnson, Jef Hostettler, Doug Williams and Trent Dilfer all have Super Bowl rings.

Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton and Dan Fouts have a combined zero Super Bowl victories.

No NFL fan in the history of time would prefer to have a quarterback from the former list over one from the latter.

The reason for this is because football is a team sport. No one knows that better than the quarterbacks listed above.

Passers like Johnson and Dilfer benefited from playing on the same teams as two of the NFL’s greatest all-time defenses.

Marino and Fouts were unquestionably better than Johnson and Dilfer in every way. However, they lacked the supporting cast necessary to win the coveted Lombardi Trophy.

To those who still believe Eli is the greater Manning, remember, one individual can only contribute so much.

Peyton bolsters an incomparable regular season win percentage, countless passing accolades and a record for MVPs. He did much of this without an intimidating run game, meaning defenses have known they could forfeit keeping men in the box and litter the field with defensive backs for pass coverage.

Peyton has exploited said secondary players for a bevy of NFL records while throwing tons of passes to the likes of Anthony Gonzales and Austin Collie. Also, it is not like Peyton does not own a ring.

Eli is undoubtedly a great quarterback, but his big brother is still the better. If one wants to argue about quarterbacks of this generation, then Tom Brady is the only person whose name should be referenced alongside Peyton Manning.