“Being the little brother, I think everything I do annoys him, that’s just kind of the way it is,” Eli, 41, exclusively told Us Weekly on Thursday, January 13, while promoting his Frito-Lay and PepsiCo Beverages partnership and their “NFL Playoff” campaign. “And I got used to it, just being in that situation any time I’m in the room, and he’s in there, like whatever I’m doing’s gonna annoy him: If I’m not watching the game, if I’m watching too closely, if I’m sitting too close to the TV, if I’m drinking my Pepsi too loud, if I’m eating my Lays and rustling the paper; everything annoys the big brother.”
The Louisiana native costars with the former Denver Broncos player, 45, in their joint “Road to Super Bowl” commercial. In the TV spot, there’s a scene between the two brothers that mimicked their upbringing.
“So, I think that opening scene [of] just us on the couch, I mean, that was not scripted. That was just like, written, ‘You on the couch, annoying each other, get to work. What, what would happen at this?’’’ Eli recalled to Us. “[We thought,] ‘This is every day, we can do this.’”
“Well, I think I’m more newly retired than he, so I hope I can throw [a pass] better than him, but who knows?” Eli quipped. “I don’t think anyone wants to see that right now. It’s just been fun [working together on the commercial].”
The retired athlete added that he and Peyton “never really worked together on anything,” and this commercial provided an opportunity to do some brotherly bonding.
“It’s just been a lot of fun and, have a reason [to get] together,” Eli explained. “He lives in Denver [and] I live in New Jersey. We don’t always get to see each other. So this is a time where we do get to see each other and hang out. … It’s a mix of kind of talking football and kind of getting off the subject and just talking about life.”
The Manning brothers teamed up with the three other former Super Bowl champs — Jerome Bettis, Victor Cruz and Terry Bradshaw — for the new campaign, which sees the fivesome attempt to organize a bus ride to the big game.
“It was obviously a lot of fun, and I think the theme of [the TV spot is] just kind of [being] that road to the Super Bowl,” Eli said of his partnership. “This time of year is so exciting for fans, [and] obviously for the players that are playing.”
While the father of four said he was “having a lot of fun” shooting with the other athletes, they all had one difficult hurdle: learning lyrics.
“You know, singing ‘Good 4 U’ by Olivia Rodrigo was challenging — having to learn those words and do everything,” he noted. “If you could have seen the B-roll on some of that — [footage] of us going through those and practicing on our own singing — that song would’ve been pretty funny.”
The “Road to Super Bowl” campaign airs on television from Super Wild Card Weekend through Championship Sunday.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi