This is the game you wanted to see.
Patriots vs. Broncos.
Brady vs. Manning.
It’s like the 1980’s all over again. You wanted to see Larry and the Celtics play Magic and the Lakers in the NBA Finals. If Houston beat L.A. in the West, you felt cheated because you would not see the Celtics go against their bitter rivals.
And it looks like this will be the last time Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will face off in such a big game as Peyton looks to be on his last legs.
In Sunday’s win over the Steelers, Manning had trouble getting the ball into the end zone and had a rather pedestrian QB rating of 74.4. Yes, his receivers dropped plenty of passes, but Manning’s throws did not have great zip on ball. No. 18 does not throw the ball downfield much, so if the Patriots defense can tackle well, and limit the yards after the catch, they should have success.
But there is plenty of time to get into the X’s and O’s of this game. To me, the most fun part of the AFC Championship is the Brady-Manning matchup. They are the Bill Russell and Wilt
Chamberlain of this day and age. They are two of the greatest players to ever play the game. Both have a slew of NFL records and individual awards. Brady has four rings, Peyton has one. And that fact alone makes Brady the better QB in my mind, just like I will always think that Bill Russell was the better player than Wilt Chamberlain.
As Bill Parcells once said a quarterback is judged by his jewelry and Brady has more rings than a Kardashian.
Brady is 11-5 in the 17 showdowns between these two titans. This will be the fifth time the two QB titans have met in the postseason. Brady won the first two meetings, Manning the last two. So Sunday in Denver will be the rubber match.
Brady has now played in an incredible 10 AFC Championship games in his 15 year career. And he told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show Monday how special that is.
“It’s beyond what I’d ever imagined in my wildest dreams,” Brady said. “I remember the first one I ever participated in, which was in Pittsburgh. We had to fly there on a Friday. I missed Friday of practice so I could do a press conference at the site of the game. It was the first time it really felt like, wow, this is a big deal. Fifteen years later, to be a part of 10 of those, I never imagined that any of this was ever even possible. I just knew that I loved the game, and I played with so many great teammates who have, like I said, sacrificed so much. When you play with teammates like I have and you see what they go through over the course of the season, what they deal with in their lives personally, how that reacts to them professionally, kind of the blood, sweat and tears you put into it, you never take it for granted.”
Let’s not take the great matchup of Brady-Manning for granted either.