Eli Manning Was Peyton’s Third Favorite Quarterback

In Friday’s Hot Clicks: Peyton Manning makes his list of favorite players, Derek Jeter breaks down the iconic “flip play” and more.
Author:
Publish date:

Typical big brother

Here’s just another way in which I, a 5'9" sportswriter, and Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, are different: Only one of us considers Eli Manning our favorite football player. 

For basically as long as I’ve been able to understand the rules of football, Eli Manning has been the starting quarterback of my favorite team. His first season came when I was 12 years old, and his last came when I started noticing one or two gray hairs in my beard.

With Eli set to officially announce his retirement at a press conference Friday afternoon, Peyton gave a lengthy interview to the Broncos’ website about his brother’s career. 

Peyton looked back on some of Eli’s biggest games, said he enjoyed the opportunity to watch Eli play in person more often in recent years and also made it clear where Eli ranks on his list of favorite NFL players ever. 

“I’m happy for Eli, because I know he’s at peace and he put a lot of time and thought into this decision,” Manning said. “But I am sad, because I won’t get to see him play anymore. And after my dad and Dan Marino, Eli really was my favorite player. So I have to find a new one. But for really 19 years going back to his three years at Ole Miss, 16 years in the NFL, I have enjoyed watching him play, watching him compete, watching him grow into a man. It’s been a heck of a run.”

When I first read the Dan Marino line, I thought it was another example of the sense of humor Peyton showed on SNL. But no, if you watch the video, you can see he says it with a completely straight face and nothing in his voice to indicate that he’s ribbing Eli. (The quote comes at the 8:03 mark of the video below.)

In fact, Peyton has said on multiple occasions that, after his father retired in 1984, Dan Marino became his favorite player. 

“After my dad retired, there was a great quarterback class that came into the NFL,” Peyton told the Broncos’ website in June. “But I just took an interest in Dan Marino. I liked the way he kind of was a field general out there, always kind of in control, always kind of taking command.”

He said something similar when he was still with the Colts. 

“I think it’s important always to have a favorite player at all times, a current player,” he said before Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. “So it went from Archie Manning, to Dan Marino, and then once Dan retired [in 1999], Eli was just starting to play college ball [at Ole Miss], so Eli Manning became my favorite player.”

That quote makes me think that when he told the Broncos’ site that Eli was his favorite player “after my dad and Dan Marino,” he didn’t mean Eli was his third-most favorite but his third, chronologically. On the other hand, Marino was a better player than Eli, and Peyton grew up admiring the Dolphins QB from age 8. He even made his NFL debut against Marino and the Dolphins. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Eli really is third on Peyton’s list. 

The best of SI

The bizarre case of a kidnapping tied to a big office Super Bowl pool. ... Rob Manfred shares his views on sign stealing, pace of play, juiced balls and more. ... MLS is becoming the go-to destination for Peruvian players. ... Five thoughts on the NBA All-Star starters.

Around the sports world

I liked this idea to rank the names of every MLB stadium. ... A movie about the legendary and tragic Von Erich wrestling family is in the works. ... 32-year-old draft bust Hasheem Thabeet is still playing in the G League in hopes of making it back to the NBA. ... A Texas woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing almost $300,000 from a youth baseball league.

This call of the carpet bowling shot is way better than the original

He’s never explained this play in such detail

He’s like 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage!

Oh yeah, and that’s the guy who smoked a cigarette at halftime.

That’s not fair

Good for him

This is the one thing you can’t mess up when LeBron comes to town

Great solo effort, but terrible defense

Hall of Fame guy

The refs robbed them here

Interesting new uniforms for the Pirates

Perfectly synchronized

Petty, but I respect it

Not sports

A single bedbug caused cascading delays on the New York subway system. ... A shiny black rock found in Italy was determined to be a piece of an exploded human brain. ... 23andMe laid off 100 employees because people got freaked out about giving their DNA to a corporation and stopped buying their tests. ... Engineers have created a simulation of the voice of an Egyptian prince who died 3,000 years ago.

If the Stranger Things theme was written in a major key

Weird indoor pool in an abandoned building

A good song

Email dan.gartland@simail.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.