(Reuters) - New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning said on Wednesday his older brother Peyton Manning does not need to win a second Super Bowl to secure his legacy as one of the NFL’s greatest signal callers.
Peyton, who will play in his fourth Super Bowl when his Denver Broncos face the Carolina Panthers on Feb. 7, is a five-time NFL Most Valuable Player who owns a slew of passing records and is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer.
“Honestly, I think there’s maybe too much placed on rings and Super Bowl championships just because because it’s not one player,” Eli, who was named the MVP in two Super Bowl wins with the Giants, said on a conference call.
”The quarterback is not the sole reason that you win a championship, it’s the team.
“I hope he can win, but his impact has already been made and his legacy ... shouldn’t be affected by this one game.”
Some critics suggest 39-year-old Peyton’s underwhelming postseason numbers during an 18-year career with Indianapolis and Denver pull him down in comparison to other all-time greats.
But while Peyton’s legacy is a natural talking point ahead of what is expected to be the final game of his career, Eli said his older brother’s impact on the game has already been made.
“He’s kind of changed the game, and the no-huddle offense they had in Indianapolis for so long, and doing things at the line of scrimmage, and changing plays and getting out of bad plays and getting into good plays,” Eli said.
“He was the starter of doing all that. ... and he’s played at a high level for a long, long time.”
The Giants quarterback said he did not know about Peyton’s future plans despite widespread conjecture that he might retire after the Super Bowl, but admitted it has been a trying season for his brother.
“From a new coach to a new offense and trying to learn that, dealing with an injury, having to sit out for seven weeks - he’s never gone through that before,” said Eli.
“Kind of coming back as a backup, he’s never done that before. He gets in and has kind of taken advantage of that opportunity and winning and now being in the Super Bowl. I‘m just excited for him.”
As for possible retirement, Eli said: ”When you get to year 19 and kind of deal with some injuries and things going on, it’d be a good way to go out.
“I don’t know if it is, but because of that possibility, I hope that he can win this game and if he decides to hang it up, go out on top.”
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue