Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. These two future Hall of Fame players have been synonymous with quarterback greatness for over a decade. Between them, they have four Super Bowl titles, six MVP awards and 818 touchdown passes.
In short, they will unquestionably go down as two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Regardless of who you prefer or think is the superior player, every football fan should cherish the match-ups between these two players as with Manning now aged 37, there will not be many left to savour.
Sunday's clash between the Broncos and the Patriots at the Gillette Stadium is the 14th time these two quarterbacks have squared off, with Brady currently dominating the series 9-3.
Brady dominated Peyton and his former team - the Colts - in the early years of the rivalry, winning the first six games and beat Manning and company twice en route to a Super Bowl title.
However, the tide turned in Manning’s favour after that, winning four of the next five. This included Manning finally silencing his critics by coming back in dramatic fashion in the AFC Championship game in 2007, paying Brady and the Patriots back for all those playoff disappointments. The Colts then went on to win the only Super Bowl of his career.
Even after thirteen previous meetings, the fan fare and excitement surrounding another Brady/Manning match-up is still unrivalled. It is without doubt the marquee game of any NFL season because it always lives up to the billing and you can bet that that this game will come down to the wire.
Even though Manning is now playing in Denver, his presence has lifted the franchise back into the elite and maintained the relevance the game actually has underneath all the glamour and superlatives it inevitably draws because of the status of the legendary quarterbacks.
Both Denver and New England are, unsurprisingly, firmly on course for the playoffs. This game could eventually determine who could get home field advantage in the playoffs, something both teams know the value of.
So round 14 of this heavyweight bout will commence on Sunday and the entire football world will tune in. Fans should sit down and appreciate watching the two best quarterbacks of this era, and maybe any era, battle it out.
Even with all the new young exciting quarterbacks on the block, and even though Brady and Manning are in the twilight of their careers, they still are still the masters. They will always be compared; who’s the better player is a question that will never be properly answered. We should all just sit back and enjoy the fight.
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