By The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS — Archie Manning got to see one of his sons win a Super Bowl and MVP in a city special to his family.
It wasn’t Peyton, who hoped to lead the Colts to a Super Bowl title in their own stadium but wound up missing the season while recovering from neck operations.
Instead, the younger Eli won his second Super Bowl with the New York Giants, 21-17 on Sunday night in the town that his older brother owns. And Archie Manning got to be the proud papa again.
“I think it’s special because of the city here,” he said. “This city has meant a lot to our family for 14 years, and I’ve been here all week. The city did a great job, and this building looked beautiful.
“Yes, it is special.”
Not easy at times, though. Peyton’s future in Indianapolis overshadowed much of the Super Bowl preparation, especially after a doctor said the quarterback was cleared to play again but Colts owner Jim Irsay responded that he had not passed a physical with the team.
The Colts owe Peyton a $28 million bonus by next month. They also have the first pick in the draft.
All of that got shunted aside in the final minutes Sunday, when Eli led the Giants on the winning touchdown drive just like he did in New York’s Super Bowl victory over New England four years ago.
It was more validation for Eli’s suggestion before last season that he’s an elite quarterback. His father recoiled when asked Sunday whether it’s likely he now has two sons headed for the Hall of Fame.
“I don’t know anything about the Hall of Fame,” he said. “Eli’s in his eighth year and I know one thing: He might have said earlier in the year that he belonged with the elite quarterbacks. He will not be saying that he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
“I know Eli well. He is in his eighth year, and I hope he can stay healthy for a long time.”
Archie Manning was impressed by how Eli handled himself during the Giants’ latest championship comeback.
“He just hung in there,” he said. “He was patient, and he had to be patient. He was sacked some early, and it wasn’t easy.
“There wasn’t anything easy out there. He played like a quarterback needs to play.”