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Ties between Eli Manning, Drew Brees flavor Giants-Saints matchup

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — When Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his Giants counterpart, Eli Manning, are playing in the same game it is personal — albeit in a friendly way.

The backdrop of various personal connections they share gives their showdown today in East Rutherford, New Jersey, even more flavor than the typical matchup of elite passers.

The Brees and Manning families have grown close since Brees arrived in New Orleans a little more than a decade ago and began raising a family in the same historic “Uptown” neighborhood where former Saints great Archie Manning raised his three sons, and still lives.

Brees’ three young boys and some of Archie’s grandchildren now go to the same school, which feeds into the same high school where Peyton and Eli Manning once played quarterback. Brees said his older boys have even expressed a rooting interest in Eli Manning, as well as fellow former Newman High School receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.

“I basically said, as long as you’re rooting for us to win, I don’t care who you root for personally,” Brees said this week, recounting a talk with his children about this week’s game.

Archie Manning recalled hearing about the Brees boys’ affinity for Eli, and he could relate.

“That was funny,” Archie Manning said. “You know, 100 years ago I had the same thing happen. Someone asked (Archie’s oldest son) Cooper who his favorite quarterback was, and he said Roger Staubach,” who starred for the Dallas Cowboys while the elder Manning played for the Saints.

Brees said when Peyton Manning retired, he got a text from Archie that the Saints were now his second favorite team — up from third — now that he only has one son left playing in the NFL.