Peyton Manning and Tom Brady entered the NFL in 1998 and 2000, respectively, and almost ever since then they’ve been rivals for preeminence at the quarterback position and the defining stars and field leaders of their generation. Manning has rewritten many of the league’s passing records while Brady has excelled in the big games, leading the New England Patriots to four Super Bowl wins compared with Manning’s one with his first team, the Indianapolis Colts. Manning came into the league as the highly touted son of former NFL QB Archie Manning, while Brady entered as a lightly regarded sixth-round draft pick. They are at the same time a study in contrasts and similarities, and author Gary Myers delves into not only their rivalry but their little-known close friendship, while getting a host of players, coaches, and family members to shed light on the pair and assess their relative skills.
Here’s an excerpt from Brady vs Manning:
“Sports is all about great rivalries. The gold standards: Manning vs. Brady. Ali vs. Frazier. Magic vs. Bird. Palmer vs. Nicklaus. Wilt vs. Russell.”
“The Manning-Brady rivalry doesn’t have the sociological implications of Magic and Bird, of course, and they are never on the field at the same time, but their greatness and popularity transcend the ultimate team sport. Manning was number two in jersey sales and Brady was number four in 2014, impressive when by now they’ve been around long enough than anybody who wants their jersey has already purchased it. They have played four elimination games against each other. Their rivalry defines an entire era of the NFL. Brady’s most recent title tied him with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana for the most Super Bowl victories by a quarterback, and jumped him over Montana as the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Manning has had more heartache than happiness in the postseason. The Broncos’ loss in the divisional round of the playoffs to the Colts following the 2014 season was the ninth time his team was eliminated in its first playoff game, the most one-and-done ever for a quarterback and the sixth time he had lost a home playoff game. Brady has been one-and-done twice in his career and lost three home playoff games.
“Their battles have been epic. The television ratings are astronomical. BradyManning has morphed into one word.”