Road To Indianapolis: Eli Manning And Giants V. Tom Brady And Patriots

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants reacts after he threw a 17-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter to Mario Manningham #82 against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

In many ways, this Super Bowl is a story about Peyton Manning, not necessarily the New York Giants or the New England Patriots.

Super Bowl XLVI will feature the little brother of Peyton Manning v. Peyton's ultimate nemesis. The game will be played in the house Peyton built, and it's outcome will, fairly or not, help to define Peyton's legacy should he never play another down of football again.

Should the Patriots and Tom Brady prevail, Brady will be lauded by everyone as being the greatest quarterback of all-time. Better than Joe Montana. Better than Peyton. Doesn't matter if it's "true" or not. It will be said, and it will have merit on several levels.

Should Eli prevail, the question of Eli possibly being better than Peyton will be raised. Heck, it's already getting asked, no matter how silly and unsupported the suggestion is.

What this all plays to, boys and girls, is the what players do in the regular season means nothing. Absolutely nothing. Eli Manning has never been a serious MVP candidate. Yet, his amazing performances in virtually all his post-season games have people actually suggesting he is a better quarterback than his four-time MVP-winning brother.

In the end, I think it's safe to say we will all be rooting for Eli and the Giants. I know I will. We all want to see the Mannings stick it, once again, to Bill Belichick. I am happy for the Kraft family though, as odd as it feels to write that. The season began with Colts center and NFLPA representative Jeff Saturday hugging Patriots owner Bob Kraft outside a law firm in Washington DC, announcing the end of the 2011 labor lockout. During the long negotiating process, Kraft lost his wife to illness. Six months later, the team he owns is back in the Super Bowl.

So much loss. So much anguish. When you think of all that Kraft did to get football back on the field, it's fitting his team is playing for another championship.

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