Peyton and Eli Manning are two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL over the last 20 years, but older brother Peyton is generally considered to be the better of the two. He finished his career with more passing yards and touchdowns than his younger brother, though both won two Super Bowls.
Both had great careers and are likely headed to the Hall of Fame when they become eligible. There is, however, one record that Eli holds that Peyton will never be able to catch.
Peyton Manning vs. Eli Manning
Peyton spent 17 seasons in the league, the first 13 with the Colts and the last four with the Broncos. He currently ranks in the top five all-time in pass attempts, completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns; he did have the most passing touchdowns until Tom Brady and Drew Brees both passed him last season.
His 96.5 passer rating ranks ninth in NFL history. Peyton was named the league MVP five times in his career, and he was on 14 Pro Bowl teams. Eli spent his entire 16-year career with the Giants after a draft-day trade that sent him there from the Chargers.
He ranks sixth in career pass attempts and seventh in completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. He ended his career with an 84.1 passer rating, putting him near the bottom of the top 50 in that category. Eli is a four-time Pro Bowler but never won an NFL MVP award.
Both Hall of Famers
Peyton Manning is the better pure quarterback, but the knock against him has always been his lack of coming through in big games during the postseason. While both brothers won two Super Bowls, Peyton had many more opportunities to win titles.
He was in the playoffs 15 times during his career, while Eli Manning’s Giants made it just six times. Peyton was 14-13 in his 27 postseason games and Eli was 8-4, though all eight of those wins came in his two Super Bowl runs.
It’s the championships that are likely to get Eli into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, because his regular season stats may not be enough by themselves. For Peyton, however, his numbers made him a surefire Hall of Famer by themselves, and his titles just add to his case for induction.
If Peyton didn’t win any Super Bowls, he would probably still be a Hall of Famer, not unlike Dan Marino, but Eli needed the titles to make the case that he deserves a bust in Canton.
One record Eli Manning holds over Peyton
Even though Peyton had a better overall career than Eli, there is one area in which Eli did better than his brother — money. When the Giants brought Eli back for the final year of his contract in 2019, that gave him career on-field earnings of more than $252 million, which gave him the record as the highest-paid player in league history.
Prior to Eli setting that new mark, the record had been held by Peyton, whose total cash earnings from all of his contracts with the Colts and Broncos added up to $248.7 million. With both Mannings now retired, Eli will always have the distinction of being the highest-paid Manning brother, though his overall record isn’t going to last long.
Drew Brees has already made more than $244 million in his career, and now that he has confirmed that he plans to play again in 2020 he will surpass both Mannings in total earnings this season. Brady, who is a free agent, is also likely to surpass Eli Manning’s total when you add whatever he makes in 2020 to his $235 million.