The debate over the greatest quarterback of all time always comes down to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. While they grew up on opposite sides of the country, their love of the game made them both instant stars. We take a look at their legendary rivalry, which has become one of the biggest in football history.
Coming from a storied football family may have made the draft a bit easier for Manning. The star was the number one pick in the 1998 NFL draft. Brady didn’t have it so lucky; he was chosen in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.
The two first faced each other on September 30, 2001. This was Brady’s first time starting in his NFL career; facing an opponent like Manning must have created goosebumps. That night, the Patriots were victorious. Moreover, Brady would maintain a winning streak against Manning for four years.
Brady Goes Two For Two
During the streak, Brady got the upper hand in two back-to-back AFC Championship battles against Manning. Those wins eventually led to Super Bowl victories.
Manning Defeats The Streak
In the 2005 season, Manning finally broke his six-game losing streak against the Patriots. The Hall of Famer started his own three-game streak, which concluded with a win at Super Bowl XLI.
Manning’s move to the Broncos in 2012 didn’t kill this rivalry though. The QBs traded wins over five games. While Brady won 3-2 in the Broncos/Patriots battles, Manning got victories where they really mattered. At the 2014 AFC Championship game, Manning prevailed and took his team to their first Super Bowl in 16 years.
In a leaked 2014 email, Brady made some snide remarks about his rival. In response to an article accusing the two of cheating, the QB stated that Manning had only two years left while he was set to play until he was 45. Manning kept a cool head about the ordeal. “No harm, no foul, I didn’t think a lot of it,” he told The Denver Post.
Hanging It Up
In what seemed to be a prophetic vision from Brady, Manning revealed plans to retire after the 2015 season. In his final match against the Patriots at their fourth AFC Championship meetup, he took home another victory and secured his spot in Super Bowl 50.
Meant To Be Broken
After leaving the game, Manning still held several records in the league. In the 2017 season, Brady decided to take a few away from his longtime rival. One of the most prestigious records earned was most regular season wins, which now stands at 196.
No Love Lost
With such a storied rivalry comes respect. “Being that we were in it together for so long at the same time, it’s really a special relationship to me,” Brady told Westwood One Radio in 2017 in regards to Manning.
Respect For One Another