DENVER - Two years ago, Eli Manning won his second Super Bowl championship at the home field of his older brother Peyton when the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
Now Peyton will attempt to win his second Super Bowl title at Eli's home field, MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Time for some karma?
Eli sure hopes so.
The Giants quarterback paid a surprise visit to watch his brother beat the Patriots, 26-16, in the AFC Championship Game Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Peyton did the same for Eli two years ago, when the Giants beat the 49ers in overtime in the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park.
"I'm just happy for him to be in New York in a Super Bowl," Eli said in the Broncos' locker room after the game. "I'm really happy for him to get back to a Super Bowl and have a chance to win another championship. Obviously, I played one in Indianapolis, and he was great to me. Whatever I needed, he was going to try to help me out, and obviously, I'll do the same for him."
Eli was hunting in Mississippi for most of the week leading up to Sunday's game, but he made it to Denver to see Peyton's masterful performance. He threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns to reach the Super Bowl for the third time.
"I thought he was on his game the whole day," Eli said. "I thought he threw the ball well. Offensively, they were as sharp as they could be. They really dominated the game offensively and hit a lot of big plays, a lot of long drives. It was really a well-executed game for them, a big win."
As his brother prepares for a Super Bowl appearance, Eli is recovering from an ankle injury. Of course, that is nothing compared with what then-Colts quarterback Peyton faced two years ago when Eli was in the Super Bowl; he had four surgical procedures on his neck and still was not fully certain he'd play again.
But Peyton has been brilliant since his return. He set NFL single-season records for touchdown passes and passing yards in the 2013 regular season.
"I think with Peyton, not much amazes me anymore," Eli said. "He's got a great mind-set and he was determined to get back. Anything he puts his mind to, he can usually accomplish it."
Eli had some concerns about whether Peyton would be able to play. "I had some doubts, I had some worries, for sure," he said. "But he stayed strong and fought through it and was determined to get back to playing at the level he wanted to and probably came back better than ever."
Archie Manning, their father and a former Saints quarterback, said he also had some doubts. "I just didn't know," he said. "When you're his age and what he went through and playing the quarterback position in this league, you just don't know. We tried to just stay positive along with him. He handled it so well. He really had a good frame of mind about working and trying it, but if it didn't work, he was at peace, so that was comforting."