Big brother is watching

Everyone knows about Archie, Peyton, Eli and even Ole Miss Homecoming Queen Olivia. However, the eldest Manning boy, Cooper, was recently gracious enough to spend some time with TGI and share some thoughts on his two famous younger brothers. Cooper is two years older than Peyton and seven years older than Eli, and as a result, has always had a different type of relationship with each of his younger brothers.

Cooper said that while he's more protective of Eli, he was also blown away at how much poise and maturity Eli has shown since he arrived in New York.

"I've never worried about Peyton, while Eli's always been a little more of my little brother," he said. "I'm not surprised because I knew he had what it takes to compete.

"I guess I'm just really proud of the way he's handled everything. And not so much the success, but more after people were jumping on him and saying he wasn't worth a hoot last year. He just kept his composure and acted the same way this year when things were going better for him. I think he's just been a real adult and mature about it all."

It's no surprise either that Cooper was a good athlete in his own right. He was a receiver in the early stages of his college career at Ole Miss when he had his football career cut short by a spinal cord injury.

Eli says that Cooper could have given father Archie three talented football-playing sons.

"You never know what would have happened in college, but I think he could have been a pretty good player," Eli said.

However, instead of focusing on what could have been, Cooper gladly revels in his current situation.

"As far as I know I'm the only person in America that has two brothers that are starting quarterbacks in the NFL so I consider myself as lucky as anybody," he said. "I really love it."

The youngest Manning said that he's benefited greatly from his relationship with Cooper, who's known as the most outgoing of the bunch, despite the fact he doesn't suit up in the NFL every Sunday.

"We're very close and talk every week," Eli said. "I've always had a great relationship with him. He's fun to be around and always puts you in a good mood.

"It's really not a whole lot different. I grew up looking up to both my brothers. Even when Cooper wasn't playing, he's still always been a role model to me and someone I've always followed and kept up with. He's definitely always had a big impact on my life."

With his brother known as "Easy" for his laidback demeanor, Cooper wants to clarify one aspect of Eli's personality straight away.

"I think a lot of times people misunderstand his calm, cool, laidback attitude and don't realize how much he burns inside and how competitive he is and how much he wants to win," Cooper said. "I think people often diagnose what he's all about because most people wear it more on their sleeve while he keeps it in check."

Cooper said Eli's teammates probably appreciate his easy-going ways in the huddle as well.

"He's not going to be the guy jumping your butt every single time you drop or ball or anything like that, but he's the kind of guy you're not going to want to disappoint because you see how hard he works," he said. "There's enough respect for him that guys usually take it into their own power to perform instead of getting an earful from him."

Cooper also set straight the misconception that Eli and Peyton are very much alike and that Eli tries to act like Peyton.

"I think there are very few similarities between Peyton and Eli besides they have the same parents and play quarterback in the NFL," Cooper stated. "I think Eli is very comfortable with who he is."

In fact, Cooper said, his two brothers probably couldn't be much more different if they tried.

"They're very different in every way," he continued. "From personality to everything across the board. It's like comparing two other quarterbacks. You could very well match up Eli as far as another quarterback in the NFL as much as you could with Peyton. You could honestly say that Donovan McNabb has more in common as far as personality as Eli and Peyton do. They're brothers, but they're very different."

As a trio, Cooper said the Manning boys are a very close-knit group.

"I would say we're pretty good brothers," he said. "We love each other and care about each other. I'd say there's a good relationship there across the board."

As expected, Cooper had nothing but good qualities to list when asked for an off-the-field scouting report on his youngest brother.

"Eli's a good kid," he said. "He doesn't get in a whole lot of trouble. He's a pretty easy guy to get along with. He has a lot of friends and very few enemies." Check Mail Compose

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