How Peyton Manning’s visit to Giants practice is a jolt for Eli

It was a double dose of the Mannings and it required a double take.

The money time of the Giants season has arrived, and you know what they say, two Mannings are better than one.

Eli walked into the Giants facility from the indoor practice field Tuesday talking with offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. That’s pretty normal.

Twenty seconds later, Peyton followed and was deep in conversation with Ben McAdoo.

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As they reached the end of the hallway, they shook hands and McAdoo said, “Thanks for coming by.”

Huh? What was he doing here? Where was Archie?

I guess Peyton − as he promised in the DirectTV commercial − did pencil in Eli for Tuesday.

“That’s funny,” Eli said.

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The final game of Peyton’s 18-year career last season was a Super Bowl victory. He was physically compromised and his assignment in the playoffs and Super Bowl was to not lose the game for Von Miller and the Broncos’ dominating defense.

Eli Manning has some brotherly inspiration to break the family Super Bowl tie this season.

Eli Manning has some brotherly inspiration to break the family Super Bowl tie this season.

(GARY HERSHORN/REUTERS)

Seeing him at the Giants facility during the season had to be a little bit of a jolt for Eli. He’s five years younger and Peyton has been playing football for Eli’s entire life. The only time Eli played and Peyton didn’t was 2011, when Peyton missed the season following his fourth neck surgery. But with Eli’s 36th birthday coming up in January, it was a reminder that the clock is ticking away.

Even though Eli’s body is holding up much better than Peyton’s at a similar age − he has started 194 consecutive regular season games, 205 including the playoffs, third longest in NFL history for a QB behind Brett Favre and Peyton − he is in his 13th season, and the opportunities are starting to run out to get that third Super Bowl championship.

“I’ve never taken a season, a day, a game for granted, because you know how quickly it can turn,” Eli said. “I’ve played long enough where I’ve seen teammates and friends who have retired or had to retire not on their own terms. I understand the game can slip from you quickly, so always take advantage of it and don’t let a game go by.”

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Peyton Manning is being honored at the March of Dimes luncheon at the Waldorf on Wednesday. He came by the Giants facility to sit in on meetings, share insight on the Steelers with Eli, talk about the game plan and ask questions of the coaches − he beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs in January − and then he came to practice.

“Just really getting back into that flow of things, I’m sure, is a little reminder of how special it is to be in this situation,” Eli said.

They have been sharing tips on common opponents forever. That surely continued when Peyton went over to Eli’s house for dinner Tuesday night.

Their routine has stayed the same. “He’ll watch and send me texts after games,” Eli said.

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The difference is Eli is no longer critiquing Peyton.

Eli Manning.

Eli Manning.

(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The brothers are tied with two Super Bowl victories apiece. Tom Brady tied Peyton last weekend with his 200th victory, including the playoffs. As much as Peyton, a numbers freak, would love to hold off Brady and keep the record for himself − no, he wasn’t lobbying McAdoo to give him a couple of starts − he will likely drop into second place Sunday after the Patriots play the Rams.

He would be more than happy, however, to have little brother break the family’s Super Bowl tie.

Eli is playing at a much higher level than his brother last year, both before Peyton sat out seven games with a foot injury and after he came back in the final game of the regular season and then two playoff games and the Super Bowl.

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Eli has 20 TDs, 10 INTs and a 90.1 QB rating. Peyton finished up in 2015 with career lows of nine TDs and a 67.6 rating along with 17 INTs.

The Giants defense is not as good as Denver’s last season, but Jerry Reese’s $200 million upgrades are paying off. They are 8-3, two games behind the Cowboys, but lead Washington (6-4-1) by 1½ games for the first wild-card spot. The Vikings and Bucs, each 6-5, are two games behind.

After not making the playoffs the last four years, Eli Manning knows the opportunity the Giants have right now doesn’t come along every year. He admitted making the playoffs four years in a row from his second through fifth season can get you “spoiled,” but now, “you appreciate the wins and how hard it is and you want to take advantage of it.”

Peyton Manning is a terrific motivational speaker. His message after practice?

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“Don’t take all these moments in time with the guys and all your friends for granted,” rookie receiver Sterling Shepard said. “Cherish these moments because it’s going to be over at some point.”

Now little brother and his teammates will try to execute big brother’s game plan. 

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nfl
new york giants
peyton manning
eli manning

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