As Giants fans we occasionally lament that we have the younger, good brother instead of the older, incredible brother (a feeling Mrs. Side Bar presumably knows all too well). But I have always maintained that Peyton grew into his greatness slowly, and entered the league as a good, but not great, quarterback. Likewise, I have always insisted that while Eli may never quite reach the level that Peyton has been on for the past few years, he is on a trajectory to develop into a great quarterback in his own right.
The numbers support my theory (to some extent, anyway). Eli has played five full seasons in the NFL (I am discounting the seven games he started in 2004 as a mid-season replacement for the struggling-but-then-of-course-became-fantastic-again-when-he-left-the-Giants Kurt Warner); Peyton has played 12 full seasons in the NFL. So comparing Eli to Peyton now is a no-brainer --- Peyton is light years better. But that is an apples to oranges comparison. If you consider their numbers over the same period in their respective careers, the distinctions become much finer.
Just give me my fucking keys; I am not guessing which hand
Are Peyton's numbers better over that span? Sure. But as I said at the top, they are certainly within the range of what Eli has done over the course of his first five years in the league. Now add in the fact that Peyton plays in a dome, on a pass-first team, and for the period in question he was choosing between Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison as his targets. By comparison, the Giants are (or were, until this year, when Eli had by far the best season of his career) a running team, playing a lot of games in weather that makes it tougher to pass, and have never had an elite corps of receivers (except the often-disgruntled and now incarcerated Plaxico Burress).
Of course, there is one very important number I haven't touched on yet -- 4, the number of MVP awards that Peyton has won in his career. Eli has none. But interestingly enough, Peyton won his first MVP award in 2003 . . . . his sixth full season in the league. And seeing as how the Mets are going to be --- spoiler alert --- fucking terrible this year, it seems now is as good a time as any to start getting fired up about Eli's MVP campaign in 2010.