So, any good NFL games on this week?
For Brady fans, this has been a rivalry that usually works out in our favor. The golden boy is 10-5 all time against Manning, and for the first little while, he absolutely dominated number 18. But great quarterbacks like Peyton Manning will not fold up (unless it is in the playoffs), and by winning five of the last nine matchups, Manning has shown that he will always compete with Brady.
From September 30th 2001, to January 16th 2005, Tom Brady was 6-0 against Manning, had won three Super Bowls, and had smacked Peyton in the playoffs two separate times. However after that, Manning won four of the next five, and won his only Super Bowl, beating the Pats on his way to the big game. And yet, Brady bounced back, as he has won three of the last four, and while both have not won a championship since Manning’s win in 2006, this rivalry is not even close to dead.
As a younger fan, I wasn’t old enough to truly appreciate the early years of this rivalry; which is unfortunate, because those were truly the glory years of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Brady and company obliterated Manning’s Colts, as Bill Belichick’s defenses abused Peyton’s offenses, and Brady was his typical self, slicing up Indianapolis’ defenses. This was during the height of the Pats’ dynasty, and probably the best time for a Boston sports fan to be alive.
Unfortunately, those are distant memories for me.
Instead of remembering this rivalry as a one-sided, defensive(ish) affair, I see it as a high-scoring shootout, with way too much heartbreak sprinkled in over the years.
I don’t remember Brady showing the world who was boss in the AFC Championship against the Colts in 2003. I remember the awful defensive collapse in 2006. I remember 4th and 2 from 2009, and of course I am vaguely familiar with Manning’s juggernaut taking it to Brady’s undermanned squad in the 2013 conference title game.
Ever since I have been able to recount this rivalry, it has been fairly even. Brady wins one, Manning wins another. But does that change how I view these two quarterbacks?
Both of these signal callers are two of the all-time greats. When it is all said and done, I will probably have both of them in my top five of greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. However every time these two square off, it just reminds me why Tom Brady is the better player. Over the years Peyton Manning has consistently had the better weapons, and arguably the better defense. This has been particularly true the last two years when Manning moved to Denver.
But despite all of that, Tom Brady still wins his fair share of football games. He is a gamer, he is a competitor, he has done more with less than anybody in history, and more than anything else: he wants to win.
As these two studs meet for the 16th time on Sunday, I think we all need to take a step back, and just take a second to appreciate how lucky we are to see two players of this caliber go at it once again. Rarely do we have the opportunity to see two of the greatest to ever do it share the field this many times, and it is even more rare to see the two have the kind of respect they have for each other. They don’t care about where they rank in the minds of everyone else, they don’t care what the media is saying about their two teams: they just love to play some damn football.
However, after you take a minute to think about those things, try to get back to the important part of this rivalry, and thank the football gods that Peyton Manning is not our quarterback.
Sorry, Peyton. Brady’s better.
And it’s not even close.