SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Giants' Eli Manning has been forced to escape the shadow of superstar big brother, Peyton. San Francisco's Alex Smith? He only has a pair of Hall of Famers in Joe Montana and Steve Young hanging over him in 49ers lore.
Two No. 1 pick quarterbacks a draft apart, Manning and Smith meet Sunday with a shot at the Super Bowl after each has faced immense scrutiny over the years while playing on opposite coasts.
Manning made his mark by winning the 2008 Super Bowl. Smith took a significant step by leading last week's thrilling, last-second 36-32 victory over Drew Brees and the favored Saints.
Early on, there were the questions about whether Manning would ever be an elite NFL quarterback like the other big-time QBs in the family.