Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is the football “G.O.A.T.” but if anyone else has a claim to that title — it’s Peyton Manning.
Peyton Manning made his long-awaited NFL Hall of Fame induction earlier this year as a first-ballot inductee. largely considered one of the greatest players to ever step foot on a football. After a hugely successful collegiate career at the University of Tennessee, the Indianapolis Colts made Peyton Manning the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft. He would go on to have a storied career, winning Super Bowls with the Colts and the Denver Broncos. Manning holds a plethora of NFL records achieved through his 18 seasons in the NFL. He takes a backseat to no one but his and Brady’s careers will be forever linked.
It was must-see TV for football fans when Peyton Manning and Tom Brady led their teams against each other. The two football giants gave professional football some of its compelling moments through their fierce rivalry. Recently appearing on a podcast, Peyton Manning says his rivalry with Brady heavily influenced his decision to play for Denver. Manning spent 14 seasons with the Colts before joining the Broncos for an additional four years.
“I remember talking with the 49ers, talking with Seattle and talking to the Cardinals, and the whole recurring theme in my mind, I’m just an AFC guy,” Peyton Manning says. “I think I should stay in the AFC. You’d think it’d be, ‘Please get away from the Patriots, go play in the NFC.’ I don’t know, if you’re going to play in the Super Bowl, you’re going to have to go through New England, so might as well play them in the AFC championship every year. New England had a little role in my decision to go to Denver.”
Peyton Manning’s words surprise absolutely no one as his competitive spirit and work ethic are legendary. To be the best, you have to beat the best — and Tom Brady and the Patriots were the best. Manning got the best of the Patriots in the 2013 and 2015 AFC championship games, respectively. He and the Broncos would claim victory in the 2015 Super Bowl as Manning rode off into the sunset of retirement. Still, Peyton Manning looks back on his matchups with the Pats, Brady and head coach Bill Belichick with fondness. Later in the interview, the former quarterback said competing against Brady and Belichick brought out the best in him.
“When you get a compliment from Bill Belichick, it means something,” Manning says. “He’s not really impressed by a lot of things.”
Peyton Manning, along with his brother, Eli Manning, will soon make their long-awaited broadcasting debut. The brothers will be part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football lineup for the upcoming 2021 NFL season.