Eli Manning: Playing in the Shadows of Greatness

Steve ChottCorrespondent IApril 1, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ -  JANUARY 11:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 11, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Eagles defeated the Giants 23 -11. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Manning—one of the most well-known names in the NFL.

Every time we turn on the TV, we see the older Manning, Peyton, in his latest commercial.

Every Sunday we hear about Peyton Manning, his amazing, MVP-quality play, and how many touch downs he threw to lead the Colts to another victory.

What about the other Manning in the NFL—Eli?

For the first four years of his career, hardly anyone knew who this little, weird-looking kid was; then Eli Manning led the NY Giants to a Super Bowl win and made one of the most amazing plays in Super Bowl history.

Now, this weird-looking kid is in commercials and becoming more of a household name. However, even after his Super Bowl win, the dorky younger Manning is still playing in the shadow of his brother, the MVP Peyton Manning.

Since the day Eli Manning was born, he was destined to be a  NFL quarter back. Raised by Archie Manning, an NFL quarter back with the Saints, Houston Oilers, and the Vikings, he didn't have any other choice.

Fast forward to his college years, where Eli Manning was a great player at Ole Mississippi, achieving 10,119 passing yards, 81 touchdowns, and a 137.7 passer rating during his four years.

Eli Manning was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy his senior year, but finished in third behind Jason White and Larry Fitzgerald.

When it came time for Eli Manning to enter the NFL draft, his potential was very high and many people thought he'd turn out like his brother.

At the time, Peyton was doing very well with the Colts.

On draft day, Eli Manning was projected to be the first-round pick with the San Diego Chargers. They fully intended to draft Eli Manning, until he said he wouldn't play for the Chargers.

This brought the younger Manning into the spotlight in the Big Apple—well, technically not the Big Apple, since the NY Giants actually play in New Jersey.

When Eli Manning came to the NY Giants, he became my quarterback. All of us who were fans of the G-Men were happy to see Peyton's brother and Archie's son on our team.

That is until he stepped onto the field.

Halfway through the 2004 season, Kurt Warner was placed on the bench and the rookie came onto the field, in my opinion, way too early.

He played mediocrely that season and maintained an average career until the end of the 2007 season.

People in New York were getting tired of his inconsistency and his  tendency to throw more interceptions than touchdowns.

Regardless, Eli Manning and the Giants where a good team, with a tough defense and a bruising running game with Brandon Jacobs.

The Giants marched into their final regular-season game against the New England Patriots and played their hearts out, even though nothing was on the line; they came up short to the undefeated Patriots.

Eli Manning would have one of his best games, and this would begin his transformation from an average quarterback to something more. 

I don't see any need to go over the playoffs from that season, we all know what happened and how Eli Manning and the Giants marched into a triumphant victory over the mighty Patriots.

Then this past season came.  Eli Manning remained a good quarterback and, for the first time, earned himself a trip to the Pro Bowl—where he played against his older brother Peyton.

The greatest thing about Eli is, unlike some other players, he just gets out there and plays. Despite seeming unemotional, he puts his heart into making his team better.

When Eli Manning first debuted in the NFL, he was a mediocre quarterback and no one really knew who he was. When you heard the name Manning, all you thought of was Peyton, because you saw him in a commercial or he played well that past Sunday.

Now, Eli Manning has started to step out of the shadow of Peyton Manning and is on his way to greatness; and even though, at times, he can be very inconsistent, and I scream that I want him gone, I am grateful to have Eli Manning running my team's offense.