Eli Manning plans to let the media and maybe his parents freak out in a frenzy over Manning Bowl II.
The Giants’ quarterback will enter the game loose — something he didn’t do when he met Peyton for the first time on an NFL field in 2006.
“I think the first time they made such a big fuss about it and how it is about the Manning Bowl and this or that,” said Eli, who added he had bigger things to worry about back then since it was his first full season as the starter. “I probably didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. This time you start to realize you don’t know how many times it is going to happen. This might be the last one. You might get one more here or there.”
As the schedule rotation allows, the Giants and Colts only meet once every four years, so this may be the last time the Mannings re-create history. Peyton, the older brother by five years, is already in his 13th season.
“Obviously we have to both make it to the Super Bowl for it to happen again in the next four years,” said Eli, who added that he and Peyton never discuss such possibilities because they rarely talk football during the little time they do spend together. “It is rare and you kind of appreciate it. You have to try to enjoy it, have fun with it.”
Head coach Tom Coughlin said that whatever information Eli has about his brother would be taken into consideration but he knows his quarterback has other things to worry about.
“Eli is Eli. He is worried about his own situation and his own team,” said Coughlin when asked what, if anything, has he tried to pry from his quarterback. “That is where he is. And everything that he does is in terms of studying them. But inside information? No.”
But when asked about quarterback Jim Sorgi, who was Peyton’s backup for five seasons, Coughlin admitted they grilled him as much as possible.
“We’ve visited a little bit with him,” Coughlin said of Sorgi, who is on injured reserve with a bad shoulder.
The younger Manning said although it is a special game, it’s not necessarily for the reasons many think. This week starts a tough stretch where New York plays Tennessee, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas in four of the following five weeks. Meanwhile, the Colts [0-1] are coming off an embarrassing performance to Houston and playing its first game in front of the home crowd. The backdrop of dueling brothers plays second fiddle to the real storylines, according to Eli.
“It is going to be a tough game. Going into their stadium is loud and they are coming off a loss so they are going to be fired up and ready to go,” said Eli. “I’m prepared for the Colts defense and getting ready for Dwight Freeney and those guys on the defensive side. It is not a team that we play very often. We have to watch a lot of film to try to get familiar with them.”
The Giants should get back a healthy Aaron Ross [plantar fasciitis], to at least play nickel back, to combat the Colts’ vaunted passing game but on the other side of the ball, the loss of tight end Kevin Boss [concussion] may prove the biggest void. Indianapolis provides one of the better pass rushes with its speed ends, Freeney and Robert Mathis, so Boss would’ve been a valuable asset as an extra blocker and delayed release into the flats. Eli knows what Boss means to him but is confident that backup Travis Beckum can fill some of the gaps.
“We hope to get Kevin back soon but until then, Travis can fill in and do a nice job, especially in the passing game,” said Eli.
Coughlin’s military background serves him correct for this game because he knows all hands will certainly be needed on deck.
“We know what it is [the storyline],” said Coughlin. “But we’re preparing for the Indianapolis Colts. And we need as many healthy bodies as possible.”