According to the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design's Encyclopedia of Science and Philosophy:
The law of conservation of mass or of matter, also known as the Lomonosov-Lavoisier law, states that the mass of substances in a closed system will remain constant, no matter what processes are acting inside the system.I've known about the Law of the Conservation of Mass since middle school. Or maybe I learned about it in high school. Either way, I know that there is a fixed amount of stuff in the universe. What I didn't realize until last night is that there is a football corollary (or something like a corollary) to this law.
It is the Law of Conservation of Manning. It states that the quality of quarterbacking in a closed Manning gene pool will remain constant no matter how each brother performs independently. It is a different way of stating that though the individual quality of each brother's performance may change, the accumulative quality cannot be altered. If one brother is excelling at the quarterback position then the other brother will be below average. If one brother is mediocre then so will the other brother. There is a fixed amount of success for Eli and Peyton Manning and it will remain constant no matter what processes are acting inside the system.
This is why it was impossible for Eli not to be terrible last night against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football after Peyton's Colts blew out the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon. And it wasn't just that Peyton's team won. The problem for the Giants was that Peyton played exceptionally well. Therefore, the Law of the Conservation of Manning demanded that Eli play poorly.
Before Week 6's events some people were contending that Eli had surpassed Peyton in quarterback skill. Fostering and exploring such sibling rivalry, however, misses the point. The discrepancy between their performances in any given week isn't a matter of one brother being "better" than the other brother. Rather, it is just a matter of how the fixed amount of Manning success is divided at any given time. That's all.
The Law of Conservation of Manning is best articulated in the pair's recent Oreo Cookie eating contests. You see, when one Manning excels, whether it be at twisting Oreos or hitting wide receivers in stride, then the other one must perform poorly to conserve the overall level of Manning performance. While the high quality of players on the Colts and the Giants means that each football team is capable of winning when their respective Manning is on the low ebb in that week's Manning skill quotient, it is easiest to understand this scientific law by remembering the Oreo Cookie which was wisely chosen by the brothers as a symbol of their symbiosis. If one Manning pulls the side with the frosting than the other Manning does not. If one Manning gets half the frosting on his half of the cookie than the other Manning also gets half the frosting. The total amount of frosting, just like the total amount Manning skill, remains constant. It is the Law of the Conservation of Manning.
It's simple. It's science. And, you can't argue with science.