American Football: Big brother proves too strong for baby Manning and the Giants

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The Independent Online

The first weekend of the new NFL season threw up a soap opera plot which had captivated America for weeks. The New York Giants would entertain the Indianapolis Colts, meaning that for the first time in the game's history, two brothers would oppose each other as starting quarterbacks.

This sporting family feud went in favour of the elder sibling, as the Colts' Peyton Manning led his side to a 26-21 triumph over baby brother Eli's Giants. Most galling of all for the younger man, it was his only interception of the contest, with less than four minutes remaining, which effectively sealed his side's fate.

However, both brothers performed well. Peyton, at 30 years old, has an impressive profile that lacks only a Super Bowl ring, while Eli, five years his junior, is entering his third season and improving all the time. Once hostilities were over, the two brothers embraced on the field.

Injuries are a common feature of American football, and after only one game, Reggie Hayward of the Jacksonville Jaguars faces season-ending surgery after rupturing an Achilles tendon in his side's 27-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Kansas City's quarterback Trent Green faces an uncertain future, too, after being knocked out in his side's 23-10 reverse against the Cincinnati Bengals. Green was hit by the Bengals' Robert Geathers, his head bouncing sickeningly off the turf from the ferocity of the impact.

He lay motionless for more than 10 minutes as paramedics sought to treat him, although the good news is that he recovered consciousness in the locker-room, before being transferred to hospital.

"When he did wake up, he remembered every play except the one which knocked him out," said the team's president, Carl Peterson. However, the Chiefs currently have no idea when, or indeed if, Green will be playing again.

Elsewhere, the veteran Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre suffered the indignity of being shut out at home for the first time in his 16-year career, as the Packers failed to trouble the scorers in their 26-0 defeat against the Chicago Bears.