Eli Manning seemed a bit upset that he didn’t get to spend time with his brother Peyton Manning on Tuesday.
“I mean, we were penciled in to see each other today,” the Giants quarterback said. “He bailed on me.”
The joke is a reference to the ubiquitous DirecTV commercial in which a retired Peyton is disappointed that Eli can’t hang out with him on a Sunday because he’s playing in a game, and so he writes Eli’s name in on Tuesday. For most of the league, Tuesday is a day off for the players, so the commercial makes sense. But with the Giants, Ben McAdoo has changed the schedule.
“Mondays are our off days now,” Eli said. “He didn’t know that at the time. He’ll have to figure it out.”
Not really. Chances are they’ll see plenty of each other this season. While Peyton won’t necessarily be in a robe and slippers as in the commercial, he will have lots of time to trail Eli around the country. He was in Dallas last weekend for the Giants’ opener against the Cowboys, meeting with Eli before the game and again after the win.
“He’s just there to support,” Eli said. “He’s not watching film, there are no tips. He’s just there to watch a football game and watch his little brother play.”
Eli Manning had some interactions with another big influence on his life and career who is currently out of the business of competing in games on Sundays. Tom Coughlin, the only head coach Manning had known until Sunday’s game, texted Manning before the game to wish him luck and then afterward to congratulate him on the win.
“It was very nice,” Manning said.
The quarterback said there wasn’t any sense of weirdness or absence playing his first game without having Coughlin to lean on.
“I have my job and I knew what I had to do,” he said. “I kind of used the things that I’ve learned from him over the years so I think in that sense he’s always kind of a part of it just because I had him as a head coach for those first 12 years.”
Unlike Coughlin, though, Peyton was there in person. Eli said it’s not all that unusual for them to watch each other’s games. Peyton came to Eli’s games in college at Ole Miss and has shown up at Giants games when his team was on a bye. And of course they have attended each other’s playoff games. But Eli did say seeing Peyton before the game on Sunday was a bit unique.
“We’ve always supported one another,” Eli said. “Nothing’s too different.”
Eli said he isn’t sure what Peyton has planned for his future now that he is a retired NFL player.
“Who knows?” he said. “I think he’ll sit on it a little bit and weigh all his options and figure it out.”
Peyton appeared in the NBC broadcast booth on Thursday night when the Broncos (his former team) hosted the Panthers in the regular-season opener, and he got decent reviews for his work there. But Eli said he did not see the cameo.
“I didn’t stay up for it,” Eli said. “I didn’t know he was going in the booth. I watched a little of the first half, I didn’t stay up for the second half so I didn’t see him up there. I didn’t know he was going to be up there.”
The two did, however, get to spend some time together on Monday morning at a charity event in Manhattan.
So how much of a presence will Peyton have with the Giants this season?
“I don’t know what the plan is,” Eli said. “I don’t know if he has any other [games] he’s going to make or not. Nothing’s on the books right now.”