Portrait of Peyton Manning After Defeat

What was it like to be Peyton Manning in the moments after defeat? After losing a Super Bowl that many had conceded to him — then facing reporters who wanted to talk about the one thing he probably wanted to forget?

Carlos Frias of The Palm Beach Post did what good reporters do: He observed and relayed the details. He also captured the loneliness of losing.

In this passage, though, Manning had the support of his brothers.

Manning’s brothers, Eli and Cooper, soon were flanking their brother at his locker, speaking barely above a whisper. Manning’s oldest brother, Cooper, cut a serious hawk-eyed gaze, searching his brother’s face. The fresh-faced Eli, quarterback of a Super Bowl champion Giants team two years ago, was the one to manage a smile, and more important, to get Peyton to smile, if only for a moment.