Last year, during the height of the DeflateGate controversy, Peyton Manning told the media that he had nothing to do with the Patriots’ alleged scheme to deflate footballs, which led to the league suspending the 12-time Pro Bowler for four games. That he would “blow the whistle” on the Patriots was surprising, but Manning’s words were consistent with his image as a loyal member of the New England community.
After this week’s Super Bowl LI, the New England Patriots will become the first NFL team in history to go 15-1 in the playoffs. As the game’s MVP, quarterback Tom Brady is widely regarded as the greatest quarterback of all time, but in his new book, Manning says he believes he’s better than Brady.
Peyton Manning’s admission that he “definitely” thinks he would have won the Super Bowl against the Patriots in 2008 is making him more popular in New England than most people realize. People in the area seem to think he’s right, and he’s making Patriots fans mad, but most people outside of New England don’t understand how important this admission is, and why it will make him even more hated by the Patriots organization.
Peyton Manning didn’t always have the upper hand against the New England Patriots, but he did have his moments against the six-time Super Bowl winners. After all, despite not having anything like Tom Brady’s ring collection, the recent Pro Football Hall of Fame member has beaten Bill Belichick’s club in the playoffs on many times.
Even yet, it didn’t persuade New England supporters that the oldest of the Manning brothers was superior than TB12. At the very least, the former Indianapolis Colts great has earned respect for his ability to play the position at the highest level.
Manning, on the other hand, recently made an unexpected revelation about the Patriots that should earn him even more admiration and hatred from Patriot Nation.
During his time with the Colts and Broncos, Peyton Manning faced up against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
As the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts’ high-octane attack, Peyton Manning spent the bulk of his NFL career attempting to defeat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Despite consistently outperforming his peers in the regular season, the 14-time Pro Bowler was often on the losing end of postseason games. Manning eventually gained vengeance on the Patriots in 2006, as he guided Indianapolis to a 38-34 win in the AFC Championship.
The Indianapolis Colts won the Lombardi Trophy, and Brady was defeated by Manning’s younger brother in two thrilling Super Bowl matches against the New York Giants. The Patriots eventually ended their championship streak in 2014, thanks to a well-timed interception by Malcolm Butler.
The next season, though, was a disappointment for Brady and Belichick.
Manning beat the dynamic combination in the playoffs for the second time in three years. Of course, he did it while wearing a Denver Broncos jersey. And, as in 2006, the great quarterback was rewarded with a Super Bowl ring after defeating the Patriots in the AFC championship game.
Manning has a lot of hatred from New England supporters since he is Brady’s greatest adversary. Even his harshest critics would concede that the Colts icon is one of the greatest of all time.
Manning’s unexpected revelation regarding the Patriots should earn him much more respect and hatred in New England.
Peyton Manning has faced Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots on many occasions. | Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Manning became the most sought-after free agent when the Colts decided to release him. When given the opportunity to select his own path, the Hall of Famer kept his greatest opponent in mind as he made his decision.
“If you’re a fan, it’s like, ‘Please get away from the Patriots, go play in the NFC,’” Manning remarked recently on The Ringer’s podcast. “I don’t know, if you want to play in the Super Bowl, you have to go through New England, so you may as well face them every year in the AFC Championship Game to have a chance to win the Super Bowl.”
“New England, believe it or not, played a little bit of a part in my choice to remain in the AFC,” he said.
Manning’s unexpected revelation should win him more respect in New England, as well as more hate.
On the one hand, he gets credit for refusing to take the easy way out. He could have made his life simpler by joining the NFC, but he chose to follow the motto “To be the greatest, you have to defeat the best.”
Is Manning the reason the Broncos won?
Not at all.
However, they still had to go through the Patriots to win a championship, so he deserves more credit for staying in the AFC.
New England supporters, on the other hand, have suffered more sorrow as a result of his unfortunate choice. In 2013 and 2015, the team lost tight games against the Broncos, preventing them from representing the conference. Brady and Belichick might have easily made two more Super Bowl appearances if Manning had joined an NFC club.
Instead of celebrating another championship, New England supporters were forced to watch their long-time rival win the Lombardi Trophy. Manning gave Patriot Nation more reason to hate him by admitting that his desire to defeat the Patriots played a role in his choice to remain in the AFC.
Is it possible for the Patriots and Broncos to win without Brady and Manning?
Both the Patriots and the Broncos failed miserably in their attempts to replace their legendary quarterbacks. As a consequence, new starters at the most crucial position in sports will be introduced this season.
Drew Lock, a second-round selection in 2019, hasn’t lived up to expectations in Denver. Teddy Bridgewater, who doesn’t exactly have a lot of potential, beat him to the starting position. Despite this, the Broncos have a strong group of talent players and a defense that should finish in the top ten.
In the meanwhile, Belichick has paid a high price for his faith in Cam Newton. During his debut season in New England, the 32-year-old underperformed, as the club missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Newton signed a new one-year contract, however on final cutdown day, he was dismissed.
The Patriots have a potential to make a huge stride forward on offensive now that Mac Jones has taken charge. Tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, as well as receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, all cost Belichick a significant amount of money. Damien Harris leads a strong group of running backs. The offensive line, meanwhile, has top-five potential.
Whether Jones and Bridgewater can lead their respective clubs to the playoffs remains to be seen.
To be sure, the Broncos and Patriots are a long way from the days when Tom Brady and Peyton Manning battled for AFC dominance.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics.
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