When Eli Manning was selected first overall in the 2004 NFL draft, he was merely viewed as Peyton Manning's little brother. Seven years into his professional football career, though, and it seems that little brother may be moving in on Peyton's territory after all.
After winning his second Super Bowl back in February, giving him one more than Peyton, many pundits began questioning whether Eli had finally surpassed his brother on the NFL quarterbacks list. It turns out that even the younger Manning wouldn't go that far, though.
"I correct them very quickly," Eli said of the claims during a very candid interview with Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports. "I've never tried to compete with Peyton.
"I never tried to say I need to be better than him. I've accepted at times that I wasn't maybe as good as him because he was the No. 1 high school player in the country. In college, he was going to be the first pick in the draft, so if I tried to go out there and be the same person and be better than him or the same person as him, I'm going to drive myself crazy."
The comparison between the two quarterbacking brothers will never cease, but while fans and experts alike attempt to make a distinction for one or the other, Eli is merely focused on building his own success.
"I'm going to go out and be the best quarterback I can be and get the most out of my potential. If that's better than him, great. If it's not, so be it."
Although he's building a resume just as, if not more, impressive than Peyton's, Eli continues to view his older brother as a role model at the position.
"I think there's always an approach growing up where you say, 'Hey, I want to just get to Peyton's level of player where he's at'" Eli said. "I admire Peyton and watching him on film and the throws he makes and the mechanics, I still watch in awe. He's still at that top level as far as what he has done with the football."
Yes, the competition between the two is great, and figuring out how to beat one another is also a challenge in and of itself. But while both continue to strive for greatness and to achieve the ultimate goal of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at season's end, the brothers remain awfully close.
"We have a great relationship and it’s a total support [system]. I call him or he calls me, like during the season last year. Especially during the playoff stretch, he would call me and just have little tidbits and pieces of advice a quarterback can talk about that you cherish."
There's a long season ahead, and while both Peyton and Eli prepare for it on opposite sides of the country the pressure is on.