Tonight’s game is about redemption and rivalry to be sure, but blogger Michelle Ryan exposes how those sentiments run deeper than you might assume.
Today’s Super Bowl is about redemption, but it’s not what you’re thinking. It’s not about the New England Patriots avenging their only loss—to the New York Giants in the 2008 Super Bowl—in what was an otherwise perfect season.
It’s not about a New England Patriots dynasty or Tom Brady proving he’s one of, or maybe the greatest NFL quarterback of all-time. It’s not even about New York Giants QB Eli Manning achieving elite status — well, not completely.
It has more to do with sibling rivalry: Eli possibly gaining a leg up on his older brother Peyton Manning. Should Eli win tonight, he’ll have earned his second Super Bowl ring, one more than his older, more attention-getting brother.
There’s no guarantee that Eli will finally step into his own spotlight. After all, he’ll be playing for glory at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of big brother Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts.
Even as the Super Bowl Media Day kicked off Tuesday (Jan. 31), what else dominated the headlines? The press conference that centered on Peyton Manning’s health and future with the Colts.
According to an article in Time magazine‘s Feb. 6 issue, Eli has already stolen the spotlight from his older brother. Winning tonight will help him step out of his shadow. Forever.
That, the article says, is the dream of younger brothers everywhere. And I didn’t even see it from that perspective until I scanned the teasers on the Time cover. Maybe it’s because I am that older sibling or because I’ve competed all my life with a younger brother — rather than a sister — so it was more likely that we would chase different pursuits.
After years of facing off in backyard races, shooting hoops and playing Nintendo games, I followed my artistic instincts, and my brother excelled at athletics. Obviously, that level of competition would have been heightened had we both been jockeying for position in a similar field.
Though I can’t relate to Eli feeling overshadowed by his big brother, I also can’t help but empathize with this, potentially the culmination of a lifetime of dreams of coming out ahead of Peyton. After all, he’s not just leading the underdog team but he’s somewhat of an underdog in his own family.
It makes me want to cheer for Eli and the Giants tonight. After all, who doesn’t love the underdog?