Eli Manning and big brother, Peyton, had a chance to spend a few hours together and the main topic of conversation wasn’t the upcoming Super Bowl.
Instead of going over how Peyton and the Denver Broncos might attack the Seattle Seahawks’ stingy defense for Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium, the focus for the two quarterbacks was the newest member of Eli’s family, 7-month-old Lucy.
When Peyton arrived at Eli’s home in Hoboken, New Jersey, on Tuesday night, he got to meet and hold his niece for the first time. Eli didn’t make him change any diapers. His biggest contribution might have been that he didn’t prepare the chicken dinner. He certainly didn’t want any responsibility in case Peyton got sick for the NFL championship game, which is being played in Eli’s home stadium.
“I think people assume, your brothers, you’re around all the time,” Eli said Wednesday after making a promotional appearance for Purina. “We don’t get the holidays, Thanksgiving. You don’t get Christmas to go visit family and everyone is together. He’s in Denver, not real close. We don’t get to be around and see each other’s families often. It was exciting. He wanted to come meet Lucy and got to meet her for the first time.”
Peyton didn’t have to wait long to hold Lucy. Eli, who has led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles, handed her off to the 37-year-old Peyton almost as soon as he walked in the door.
“She was fine,” said Eli, who also has almost 3-year-old Ava. “She didn’t mind being held by anybody and he kind of held her for a while.”
Peyton also ran around a little with Ava, and the two built a fort, Eli said.
The menu for dinner was standard: chicken, salad, green beans, potatoes.
“I thought I would give him something healthy,” Eli said.
If there was any discussion of football, Eli indicated it was brief.
“At those moments you don’t want to talk about that,” Eli said. “If he wanted to bring it up I was going to let him bring it up. After that, we just kind of talked about what went on (during) media day and kind of talked about different things that have happened. I hadn’t seen him. I got to see him a little bit after the (AFC) championship game and before that for 10 minutes when he played back here in September.”
Given the forecast for temperatures in the upper 30s and no precipitation predicted for Sunday, Eli said there was no insider tip he could give his brother about playing in the stadium.
“It’s a fair playing ground,” said Eli, who added the only advice he gave his brother was about the Giants’ sideline, which is the side the Broncos will have.
Eli and his family will attend the Super Bowl, marking the third time Eli has seen his brother play in the game. The others were in 2007 and ’10, a win against the Bears and a loss to the Saints, respectively. Both games were in Miami.
This will be the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city.
Ironically, Peyton has seen Eli play in two Super Bowls, the second in Indianapolis in 2011, in the stadium that was Peyton’s home field.
Eli admits he gets nervous watching his brother play, but not as nervous as his quarterback father, Archie, “who will be biting his fingernails.”
“If you are playing, you are prepared and you are out there and can have an effect on the game,” Eli said. “When you are watching, you can’t help. You can’t do anything. You feel like you want to be out there to do something to make it go right but you have to sit there and let it happen.”
Eli Manning is looking forward to next season. After posting a 7-9 record and missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, coach Tom Coughlin shook up his offensive staff. He hired Ben McAdoo to be his offensive coordinator after Kevin Gilbride retired, fired two long-time assistants and either hired or reassigned men so that Pat Flaherty is the only major assistant on the unit not moving.
“I am interested to see what our offense is going to be,” Manning said. “This is really the first time going into an offseason and not knowing exactly what you are doing. You might have little changes here and there, but we are going to have a new offense. I have to learn that. I am not worried about that, but it will be a little extra work, trying to learn how to call things.”
The concept of a West Coast offense doesn’t scare the longtime Giant. He said it’s a timing offense and he is comfortable with that.