He never brings it up. But that does not mean it does not come up in conversation.
Eli Manning is the only quarterback alive who has this over Tom Brady — the seemingly ageless wonder who is headed to his 10th Super Bowl, his first with the Buccaneers. Brady is 6-3 in his previous Super Bowl appearances, all with the Patriots, and the first two losses came at the hands of Manning and the Giants.
With so much (deserved) discussion this week about Brady, 43, as the best to ever do it, Manning will forever be 2-0 against him on the biggest stage.
“It’s one of those things, it’s not something I ever say or ever think a lot about,’’ Manning told The Post on Tuesday. “I’ve been around Tom numerous times, and I’ve never brought up a Super Bowl or our games versus them. He actually brings it up. It still bothers him a little bit, especially the ’07 one when they had the chance to go down as the greatest team of all time.
“But I don’t have any bragging rights with Tom. This is his 10th Super Bowl, and I’m so impressed with his whole career.’’
Manning was the MVP of the Super Bowls after the 2007 and 2011 seasons, coming back first in Glendale, Ariz., then Indianapolis in the fourth quarter to upset Brady and the Patriots. The only other quarterback to beat Brady in a Super Bowl is Nick Foles, three years ago. Manning remains alone as a two-time Brady slayer.
“I don’t think I rooted for him or against him for that reason,’’ Manning said. “I still watch the game and usually root for the quarterbacks in certain situations, especially the fourth quarter — whoever has the ball I’m rooting for the quarterback and rooting for the offense to make plays.’’
In Tampa on Feb. 7, Brady and the Buccaneers face Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Brady, in an unfamiliar spot for him, is the underdog.
“It’s really impressive what Tom’s been able to do,’’ said Manning, who is involved in Frank’s RedHot Big Pour Challenge to raise $100,000 for Tackle Kids Cancer. “Just the fact, changing teams after 20 years, with one team where you’ve had so much success and going to a new team, new city, new state during a pandemic, where you have a shortened off-season and different rules and kind of get the same results. Getting back to a Super Bowl, at age 43, yeah, it’s so impressive. It was hard to think that was going to be possible. He’s obviously got a special demeanor and a special ability to get guys to rally around him.’’
Manning does not make predictions but he did offer this, as far as the winner of Super Bowl 2021: Whichever team and quarterback has the ball last.
“Usually,’’ Manning said, “that’s how it works with these guys.’’
He ought to know.