JANUARY 21 2008 21:12h
For the second consecutive year a Manning will play for a Super Bowl.
It was Manning who led the way on Sunday as the Giants beat the Green Bay Packers 23-20 in overtime to clinch a place in the NFL's showpiece finale.
For the second consecutive year a Manning will play for a Super Bowl ring although not the one most people expected to see facing the unbeaten New England Patriots in Phoenix on Feb. 3.
That task was expected to fall to the reigning Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts led by quarterback Peyton Manning.
But after the Colts were ousted in the divisional playoffs by the San Diego Chargers, the masterful Eli has taken over the spotlight from his older brother.
"From watching Peyton, watching other guys, you never know when you're going to get your opportunity, when something is going to click, when you're going to get hot," Eli told reporters after the victory over the favoured Packers.
"You're just playing your best football at a certain time and that's what's happened to us."
Reluctant to join the Chargers, Eli forced the draft-day trade that sent him to the Giants in exchange for young quarterback Philip Rivers and a host of draft picks.
Since his much-heralded arrival in the Big Apple, Eli has toiled in the long shadow cast by Peyton.
While Peyton was piling up Most Valuable Player honours, Pro Bowl invitations and a Super Bowl title last year, Eli struggled to realise his potential.
During his four seasons in the league, Eli has teased fans with flashes of brilliance but never produced the consistent performance that would allow him to take his place among the upper echelon of quarterbacks.
Even late this season the verdict was still not in as to whether Eli was a draft-day flop or a shrewd investment.
That question has certainly been answered during the Giants's inspirational late-season run.
Following a gritty effort in a narrow loss to the Patriots in their final regular-season contest, Eli has taken a firm grip on the attack, helping to engineer three consecutive road playoff wins over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and Packers.
Heading into the regular-season game against the Patriots, Eli had thrown 19 touchdown passes offset by 19 interceptions.
He threw four TD passes against the Pats against one interception and since then has thrown four more in the playoffs without a turnover.
"He (Eli) has played outstanding football down the stretch," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. "He's made really good decisions with the ball.
"The focus of Eli was outstanding and he willed himself to play well."