Peyton and Eli “The Overshadowed” Manning

We’re amidst that awkward weekend between the AFC/NFC Championship Games and the Super Bowl, where all the journalists have flocked to Indianapolis for a week of non-stop coverage. It’s also in Indianapolis where a new coach, Chuck Pagano, was just hired to resurrect the Colts from a dismal season without Peyton Manning. Which means that despite having a season that proves his pre-season claim as being an elite quarterback in the NFL, Eli Manning will be playing second fiddle to his older brother yet again.

Eli deserves recognition. Scouring the news wire, Reuters just released an article titled “Eli takes giant step out of brother Peyton’s shadow.” As much as that should be the case, it’s just not. While Eli could surpass his brother in Super Bowl titles with a win next week, it won’t give him the spotlight. Even though he mounted 7 fourth-quarter comebacks with the G-men this year, even though he earned a Pro Bowl-bid, Eli’s story is not as compelling as the Peyton situation because what is happening with Peyton is unprecedented. Plus, it could have an effect on YOUR favorite team (even if that team is the Giants).

Peyton is all but gone from Indy. While it’s not 100% that he’ll even play (and former Colts VP Bill Polian thinks it’s far from 100%, as he told Mike and Mike), the potential of Peyton Manning playing for your team is valuable. Not $28 million valuable, which is what the Colts would have to pay him if he’s on the roster come March 8, but valuable nonetheless. Imagine if he’s able to play at the elite level he was on not long ago – that could really change a team like the Dolphins, Redskins, or Jets.

That is a huge IF though. Will he join the iconic franchise faces of Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Joe Montana, and Brett Favre to leave their long-time teams at the tail end of their careers? Imagining Peyton Manning in a Dolphins’ uniform made me shed a single tear. Seeing Favre play as a Jet and as a Viking just took away from his legacy (all the bone-headed stuff he pulled post-Packers didn’t help). That’s the last thing anyone should want for the lovable Peyton.

Will Peyton play, and if so, for who? That is the huge question no one knows the answer to, but keeps asking. That is the question that keeps Eli in Peyton’s shadows.

You tell us – will Peyton play again? If so, with who?
We’re also looking for your Super Bowl predictions. Giants or Patriots? Score? Why?
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