Two superstar quarterbacks. Two charges of cheating. And two completely different initial responses.
When Tom Brady first learned of allegations regarding the Patriots deflating footballs during the AFC Championship game in January, he chuckled about the charges the morning after the 45-7 romp over the Colts when WEEI’s Kirk Minihane informed him of Bob Kravitz’s initial report on under-inflated footballs.
“I think I’ve heard it all at this point,” Brady said with a laugh adding “That’s the last of my worries. I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”
When Brady faced the media at Gillette Stadium to address the matter a few days later, he tepidly replied “I don’t believe so” when asked if he was a cheater in the Foxborough presser.
“I feel like I’ve always played within the rules,” the Patriots quarterback sheepishly added.
The story ramped up into an all-consuming mess after the Super Bowl and nearly a year later the Deflategate showdown between Brady and the NFL continues in the courtroom and will linger into 2016.
Fast forward to a furious Peyton Manning, who this weekend was linked to an anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied him with human growth hormone [HGH] in 2011 in an al-Jazeera documentary that has more holes than Swiss cheese.
Right out of the gate, Manning vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
“The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up,” Manning said in the statement released Saturday night. “It never happened. Never. I really can’t believe somebody would put something like this on the air. Whoever said this is making stuff up.”
When Tom Brady first learned of allegations regarding the Patriots deflating footballs the morning after the AFC Championship game, he laughed when WEEI’s Kirt Minihane informed him of Bob Kravitz’s initial report on underinflated balls.
Manning kept his foot on the gas pedal when pressed on camera the next day. A “furious” Peyton Manning strongly denied an Al Jazeera report.
“It’s completely fabricated. Complete trash, garbage,” Manning told ESPN in a Sunday morning interview. “There are some more adjectives I’d like to be able to use, but it really makes me sick. It makes me sick that it brings Ashley [Peyton’s wife] into it, her medical history, her medical privacy being violated.”
When The MMQB’s Peter King came calling, Manning made it crystal clear where he stands on the story when King asked him if he was worried about the effect the charges would have on his legacy.
“I’m not worried about that,” Manning said. “I’m not worried because this is a flat-out lie.”
While HGHgate and Deflategate have little in common, after seeing Manning’s initial response to the could-be crisis, it begs the question: Could Tom Brady have slowed the buildup of Deflategate if he came out as tough as Manning when the news broke?
As you might expect, Brady came to a quick defense of his friend Peyton when asked about the al-Jazeera report.
“I have a lot of personal thoughts that really are personal to me,” Brady said Monday during WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan with Minehane show. “Peyton, I would consider him a good friend. You hate to see your good friends go through anything like that. He’s been a great player for this league, for his teams, for his organizations. He’s been one of the best players to ever play the game. Nobody has more respect for Peyton than I do, and everything that he’s accomplished. There’s always challenging times, but he’s a tough guy. I know that. He’s a very mentally and physically tough guy.”