So that's that. Eli is clearly the best quarterback in the Manning family (you can definitely sit down now Archie). OK, so maybe "clearly" is too strong a word. Still, even when you dismiss the non-football categories, there's an argument to be made that Eli is—and could certainly become—Peyton's superior.
Peyton took the league by storm from the beginning, engineering a 10 game turnaround in the Colts' record in just his second season; he's been the face of the NFL for the past decade. Eli on the other hand, entered the league on a sour note, rubbing many fans the wrong way by forcing his way out of San Diego. His playing career got off to a rough start as well, including his 0.0 QB rating game in Baltimore.
But while it's easy to see Eli as a guy who got hot during two postseasons and rode a lucky streak to elite status, that overlooks his very good (albeit not great, like his brother's) regular season performances, which were accomplished under much more difficult circumstances than Peyton's. Like his older brother, Eli led his team to a division title in his second year; like his brother, he had a couple playoff flops. But unlike Peyton, Eli had to work under the glare of the New York spotlight, and with an inferior supporting cast. In fact, you could make the argument that having personalities like Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey in the Giants clubhouse early in his career actually stunted Eli's growth as a quarterback and leader.
It's hard to argue with Peyton's numbers, but it's hard to argue with the numbers we started this list with, 2 and 1. For the second time in his career, the second time in four years, Eli is doing the Super Bowl victory parade circuit this week. Can Peyton be the GOAT but Eli be better? We certainly think so. And if the ring is the thing, then it's really no argument.
End of discussion.