As the Saints celebrated their Super Bowl championship Sunday night, Colts QB Peyton Manning trudged off the Sun Life Stadium field dejected after missing out on a second ring.
His younger brother, Giants QB Eli Manning, attended the game and told ESPN Radio New York’s Michael Kay on Tuesday that the Colts’ loss was hard to watch.
“I was rooting so hard for my brother,” Eli said (via Sports Radio Interviews). “I’ve obviously been there in the Super Bowl (two seasons ago against the Patriots), and you prepare all season and it’s so hard to get to that situation, so hard to get there. I just felt for him.
“I got to speak to him after the game a little bit, and I talked to him today. He’s doing good. I just told him he did everything he could, and without him on that team, they wouldn’t be anywhere near what they’ve done or capable of doing.”
In fact, Eli agreed with Kay that the Colts would be a 6-10 team without Peyton, who has been criticized by fans and some media members after the 31-17 loss.
“No question,” Eli said. “I think he makes every player on that team better. … I think he’s earned the respect of every coach, player, announcer, anybody who is a fan of football.”
Eli also said he was surprised by the Saints’ onside kick to start the second half — “I wasn’t even in my seat yet” — and he wasn’t exactly sure what happened on Tracy Porter‘s game-changing interception of a Peyton pass in the fourth quarter.
But Eli did provide some insight into how his brother is feeling after the loss.
“I think you’re always disappointed when you have such a tremendous season and get so far,” he said. “I think he knows as well as anyone how difficult it is to get to the Super Bowl, having been to the playoffs many times, having been in AFC Championship Games, divisional games. It’s tough. It’s tough on everybody just to get to the Super Bowl. So obviously he’s going to be disappointed and upset.”