Wednesday, April 16, 2014
By Steve Solloway email@example.com
DENVER — Football history knocks at the door and Sunday, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will finally answer.
New England quarterback Tom Brady has helped the Patriots beat Peyton Manning-led teams 10 times, but only once in an AFC Championship game.
Denver’s Peyton Manning found a new favorite in former Patriots receiver Wes Welker, who joined the Broncos in the offseason.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have crossed paths 14 times in their career with Brady winning 10 games. Three of those games have been in the playoffs with Brady winning twice. In the 14 games, Brady has 3,403 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in those matchups. Manning has 3,971 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
Patriots 44, Colts 13, Sept. 30, 2001
Brady: 13-of-23, 168 yards
Manning: 20-of-34, 196 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs
Patriots 38, Colts 17, Oct. 21, 2001
Brady: 16-of-20, 202 yards, 3 TDs
Manning: 22-of-34, 335 yards, 1 TD
Patriots 38, Colts 34, Nov. 30, 2003
Brady: 26-of-35, 236 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Manning: 29-of-48, 278 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
Patriots 24, Colts 14, Jan. 18, 2004, AFC championship, at New England
Brady: 22-of-37, 237 yards, TD, INT
Manning: 23-of-47, 237 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs
Patriots 27, Colts 24, Sept. 9, 2004
Brady: 26-of-38, 335 yards, 3 TDs, INT
Manning: 16-of-29, 256 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Patriots 20, Colts 3, Jan. 16, 2005, AFC divisional playoffs, at New England
Brady: 18-of-27, 144 yards, 1 TD
Manning: 27-of-42, 238 yards, 1 INT
Colts 40, Patriots 21, Nov. 7, 2005
Brady: 22-of-33, 265 yards, 3 TDs
Manning: 28-of-37, 321 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Colts 27, Patriots 20, Nov. 5, 2006
Brady: 20-of-35, 201 yards, 4 INTs
Manning: 20-of-36, 326 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Colts 38, Patriots 34, Jan. 21, 2007, AFC championship, at Indianapolis
Brady: 21-of-34, 232 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Manning: 27-of-47, 349 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Patriots 24, Colts 20, Nov. 4, 2007
Brady: 21-of-32, 255 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
Manning: 16-of-27, 225 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Colts 35, Patriots 34, Nov. 15, 2009
Brady: 29-of-42, 375 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Manning: 28-of-44, 327 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs
Patriots 31, Colts 28, Nov. 21, 2010
Brady: 19-of-25, 186 yards, 2 TDs
Manning: 38-of-52, 396 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs
Patriots 31, Broncos 21 , Oct. 7, 2012
Brady: 23-of-31, 223 yards, 1 TD
Manning: 31-of-44, 337 yards, 3 TDs
Patriots 34, Broncos 31 (OT), Nov. 24, 2013
Brady: 34-of-50, 344 yards, 3 TDs
Manning: 19-of-36, 150 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
The intertwined legacies of two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks will be redefined or solidified when the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos meet in the AFC Championship Game.
The victor goes to the Super Bowl in two weeks in New Jersey. That’s the big prize. Somehow the AFC game itself is overshadowed amid the expectation of Brady and Manning matching skills and leadership for the 15th time.
They’re considered the best quarterbacks of their generations and perhaps among the greatest who played in the NFL. Their 14-game rivalry, includes three AFC playoff games and has spanned more than a decade, much longer than the five years of matchups between Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys in the mid-1970s.
Bradshaw and Staubach, Dan Marino and Joe Montana, Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas. All pale in their longevity to Brady-Manning.
Brady’s Patriots have beaten Manning’s Colts and Broncos 10 times, although they’re even in AFC title game confrontations, each winning one.
They are the face of their teams, although Brady tried his best to tone down the hype of two individuals squaring off on the Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium before a capacity crowd and an immense audience watching and listening on television.
Before the Patriots left Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. on Saturday afternoon for the nearly 2,000-mile flight to Denver, Brady was asked one more time if he enjoyed the matchups with Manning.
“I love playing football,” said Brady.
He was reminded that Brady versus Manning has now become part of NFL lore.
“Truthfully, I’m just not focused on that at this point,” said Brady. “I wake up every morning to try to come here and focus on my job and do what I need to do. I don’t read much. I don’t do much. I just show up and get ready for practice. It’s just not really on my mind, not this week.
“I appreciate playing great football teams and (Manning is) a great leader for that team. This game is about the Broncos and the Patriots. I know that they have a great quarterback on the other side of the ball. We’re going to have to score some points. They’ve scored points all year. I think they set a record for scoring points this season, more points than any team in the history of the league.
“We’ll be challenged because they have a very good defense and they play well at home. I think we just have to understand what it’s going to take from our offense to go out there and win a very tough game on the road against a very good team led by one of the great quarterbacks of all time.”
Their’s is a rivalry born of mutual respect. They certainly don’t taunt. They don’t try to verbally one-up the other.
Brady has won three Super Bowls to Manning’s one. Others have to bring that into the conversation. They won’t.
“I think the one thing that jumps out about Tom is just his consistency,” said Manning when the week of preparation for the title game began. “I feel like he’s been a better player each year than he was the year before, feels like he can step his game up one level higher, which (in) some of the seasons he’s had you say, ‘How can you get better than that?’ But I think he has done that.
“There are many, many well-deserved accolades and adjectives to describe the way he’s played quarterback and the way he’s competed, but (consistency is) one that’s really impressive to me.”
(Continued on page 2)