The infamous cliche “sometimes your best just isn’t good enough” has long been reserved for scenarios associated with failure. Although even after once achieving the highest pinnacle of success in his profession, the stigma remained for New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning — until last night.
Manning has been casted in the shadows of his dynastic family since he can remember. The shadow of his father Archie — who was an iconic quarterback for Ole Miss and the New Orleans Saints — to Cooper, the eldest of the Manning boys, who set the standard for following in dads’ footsteps. And finally, the shadow that casted the darkest, plaguing much of his professional career: being Peyton Manning’s little brother.
The youngest Manning captured his first Super Bowl in 2008, but it still wasn’t enough. He didn’t garner the respect. He wasn’t mentioned with Brady, Rodgers, Brees, and big brother. He wasn’t ‘elite’. But as the world discovered last night in Super Bowl XLVI, “you can’t spell ‘elite’ without Eli.”
By definition, they say a shadow is the shaded part of a picture, the theme of Eli’s career prior to last night’s game. Though undoubtedly, with his second Super Bowl championship in four years, Manning has catapulted into the ranks of the elite. Tied with Ben Roethlisberger (2), he now trails only Tom Brady (3) in Super Bowl championships among active quarterbacks.
Manning rose to the occasion poised with grit, composure, and elusiveness leading the Giants to victory; capturing his second Super Bowl MVP award along the way. He finished just shy of 300 yards, completed 30 of his 40 pass attempts and threw a first-quarter touchdown to wide receiver Victor Cruz. And now with one more ring than golden boy big brother Peyton, Eli has not only stepped out of the shadow, he’s casted one of his own.