NFL fans everywhere reluctantly accept that Sunday’s AFC Championship may very well have been the last game between storied rivals Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The two greatest QBs of their generation and guaranteed Hall of Famers battled it out with the right to Super Bowl 50 on the line, and in the end, Manning came out on top as Denver topped New England 20-18. If that was the game between the two, it was a fitting and satisfying ending to the rivalry.
Honestly, neither one of the two phenoms looked that hot in the game, it was obvious that the age of both players is starting to show more and more. Down 20-12, the Patriots did rally late to make it a 2 point game, but Brady’s last minute two-point conversion attempt to Rob Gronkowski was stopped by the Bronco’s D, which had a stellar game. Manning and Denver are headed to San Francisco to meet Cam Newton and the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Brady is headed home the loser, something that he isn’t often. After the game ended, the two icons met and shared a hug, a tremendous show of respect and sportsmanship on both men’s part.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning met in an NFL game for the first time on September 30, 2001 at Foxboro. Brady, then 24, and the Patriots downed Manning, then 25, and the Indianapolis Colts 44-13. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl the following winter. That was the first of 17 total meetings between the two. Brady leads the series 11-6 after last night’s game. Of their regular season matchups, Brady leads 9-3. However, of their playoff matchups, Manning leads 3-2. The only postseason meeting between the two that was not the AFC Championship was 2005, which was the Divisional Round. It’s too bad we couldn’t have seen Brady and Manning compete against each other in a Super Bowl, that would have been incredible. Brady has meet his rival’s younger brother Eli twice in the Big Game and both were classics.
Who is the better of the two has been a debate amongst NFL fans for years. Based off his regular season and playoff prowess, many say Brady, although many have also argued that Brady has had more success because he plays for the New England Patriots, undoubtedly football’s best team over the past 16 years. Regardless of the outcome of the Super Bowl, Manning is widely expected to retire after this year. And, although Brady is not, we all know he is not far off either. Whoever you side with, no one argues that this is one of the all-time great NFL rivalries, and one that will be greatly missed.
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