An open letter to Peyton Manning,

Hey “Sheriff,” what’s up? How’s the neck?

We’re writing because we were struck by something when we heard about your surprise visit to your brother’s NFC Championship Game over the weekend, and we just had to intervene. We need you to really think about what you are doing.

Listen, we know you love your family and want the best for them. That’s all very nice. But have you really thought about what would happen if Eli were to upend the Patriots again?

Going into this season, and pretty much every one in the 21st century, the debate has been whether the better quarterback to lead a team was Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Despite Brady’s comparative postseason dominance, you held on to your 1/1A status as an elite NFL quarterback.

But if Eli earns a second Super Bowl ring on your home turf, everything will change. Your little brother’s postseason record would be 8-3 compared to your 9-10. His touchdown-to-interception ratio in the playoffs is already better than yours. Most importantly, he would have the two titles to your one.

Forget being in the debate about being the best quarterback in the NFL and your status as an all-time signal caller. You may lose the status as best quarterback in your family.

Think about the fallout if Eli is the alpha Manning. Playing in the much-larger New York market, he would be a marketer’s dream. Eli could be the one making appearances in virtually every commercial on NFL Sundays. Even worse, we might get “Saturday Night Live” with host Eli Manning (featuring another forgotten brother as the musical guest; let’s say Aaron Carter). We’ve seen those Oreo commercials, and nobody wants 90 minutes of jokes on the level of the Double Stuf Racing League.

You couldn’t even take the role as the spurned older brother. Cooper has held that title for decades.

So what can you do?

Simple. You have to root for Brady.

Another Super Bowl title for Brady would do less damage than if Eli were to win. If people still picked you over Brady at this point, we can’t imagine a wider championship gap making a difference. You could take a mulligan on this season — much like Brady did in 2008 — and try to play catch-up with Tom Terrific once again in 2012.

So make the appearances and say the right things about your talented younger sibling, but keep your internal support toward Brady. Wear a New England jersey under your suit; try several different haircuts; buy some stock in Ugg boots.

You may have to go a step further. We know you spend Fridays going over defensive coverages for the upcoming opponent. Try slipping in a few fibs to throw Eli off his game. Claim that Vince Wilfork is repelled by garlic and have Eli eat it in every meal for the next two weeks; no one will want to be in a huddle with him on Super Bowl Sunday. Tell him Victor Cruz will miss the Super Bowl due to a salsa-related injury. If you really want to throw Eli off, claim that the Patriots are using a second-string wide receiver on defense. We know we didn’t believe it when we heard it.

If you want to get Bill Belichick involved, try giving away from inside info about your little brother. We bet the coach would be interested in any home movies, game film from middle school or graduation videos that you might have of Eli. We hear that guy’s an expert with tapes.

Whatever you do, the next two weeks should be oriented toward getting Brady his fourth Super Bowl title. Peyton, it’s time to put your family second. It’s for your own good.