featured image: USA Today
Amidst the rubble of court documents, emails, and newly released material regarding the never ending Deflategate controversy, an interesting email sent from Tom Brady has emerged. In the message, sent just a week before the Patriots rout of the Broncos in week 9, Brady seemed to have no doubts he will outlast veteran quarterback Peyton Manning. Brady is quoted as saying “I’ve got another 7 or 8 years. He has 2. That’s the final chapter. Game on.”
Ever since Brady and Manning faced off against each other in 2001, every game has been a fight for the title “Greatest of All Time.” Each has their own obsessive fan base, ready at a moment’s notice to list every reason why their QB is the better of the two. It’s no doubt, then, that Brady sees Manning as his biggest competition. For nearly eight months the sports world has wrestled over Tom Brady’s legacy and whether Deflategate is enough to topple it. To Brady, it seems, Manning is the only one able to cast that large of a shadow over his career.
Statistically speaking, Brady should be worried. Throughout his career Peyton has thrown for more touchdowns, more yards, and higher quarterback ratings than Brady. Manning’s numbers are undeniably better across the board, with his record setting four NFL MVP awards showing just how great of an individual player he is. Head to head, however, is a different story. Out of 16 games played between the two greats, Brady has won 11 of them–nearly 70%. Add to that four Super Bowl rings and three Super Bowl MVP’s and Tom easily evens the contest.
Peyton calling it quits in two years would be huge for Brady’s sake in the competition. In fact, the idea isn’t unfounded. Manning’s multiple neck surgeries of 2011 and his recent troubles with his right quad and throwing arm leave many wondering how much more the signal caller has in him. Decreased passing numbers over the last two years could also indicate the future hall of famer is finally in decline. In New England, however, the current Super Bowl champion’s numbers have been on the rise as of the last few years.
When it comes down to it, these next few seasons will be critical for both quarterback’s legacies. How Brady handles the current controversy surrounding him will become a defining moment, four game suspension or not. In Denver, training camp attendees are reporting Peyton’s arm is as strong as ever. Receiver Demaryius Thomas has even claimed “it seems like [Manning] has more zip” on his passes. From the sound of it, Manning may have a lot more than two seasons left in him. Sixteen matchups later and no clear cut winner, Tom has poured some much needed fuel on the fire for the Brady versus Manning saga. It may be a decade before a consensus is ever reached on the where the two greats rank, but there is no doubt that both players have more than earned their place in the halls of Canton.