Peyton vs Brady Sports Rivalry

Micah Chasen

Staff Writer

When rivalries are talked about in sports, most people think about Red Sox vs Yankees, Lakers vs Celtics, or UCLA vs USC. While these rivalries are historic, it’s the individual rivalries that are interesting to dissect. Throughout the years, the emergence of rivalries like Larry Bird vs Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Ted Williams vs Joe DiMaggio, Jack Nicklaus vs Arnold Palmer, and Muhammad Ali vs Joe Fraizer have excited fans. It is hard to compare rivalries from different sports, but at 3: 00 PM ET, a new chapter will be written in arguably the greatest rivalry of all time, Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady.

This year, Peyton outplayed Brady statistically, but Brady and the Patriots won the only meeting of the between the two teams. While both quarterbacks have experienced success during the regular season, it is their postseason exploits that exemplifies not only why they are two of the best to play the game, but why their rivalry is so special. Starting with Super Bowl XXXVI (36) in 2002, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning combined have played in seven out of the past 12 Super Bowls.  Additionally, both are in the top four in playoff games started and in the top eight in playoff games won. While Tom Brady is the most “winningest” quarterback in NFL playoff history, his record against Peyton in the playoffs is only 2-1.

Another comparable rivalry is Bird vs Magic. Both set of rivals are almost the same age and include two of the most well respected and winningest players in their respective sport. Magic Johnson has the best winning percentage in NBA history with a percentage of 72.81 while his counterpart Larry Bird is third in NBA winning percentage with a percentage of 71.54. Like Magic and Bird, Brady and Peyton are also in the top three for winning percentage in their respective sport with Tom boasting a 77.5 winning percentage and Peyton winning 69.6 percent of his contests. You can also see their success through awards. Bird and Magic have combined for six Most Valuable Player awards and 24 all-star selections while Brady and Manning have combined for six Most Valuable Player awards and only 22 all-star selections. These statics raises the issue of which rivalry is the best.

To start, despite physical similarities, Bird and Johnson did not play the same position and had two very different styles of game. Johnson was a rim attacking point guard who dazzled with his awe inspiring passing ability while Bird was a small forward with one of the most beautiful jump shots the NBA has, and will ever, see. Still they were great. What is so unique about the rivalry between Brady and Manning is that they have almost identical styles of play. They are around the same height, weight, both are relatively immobile, both are inspiring leaders, and they both rely on their precision and quick decision making to succeed. Another difference is their head to head records. While Magic Johnson beat Bird in regular season head to head match-ups with an 11-7 record Brady has dominated Manning with a regular season head to head record of 10-4.

To sum it up, bask in the greatness while it lasts. Players like these come around once in a generation. Sports fans have been blessed to live in the time of two of the all time greatest players to ever play the game and, with both of them over the age of 36, their time in the league is fleeting. Many call this era in football the era of the quarterback and there are no better quarterbacks than Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Their rivalry has set the bar high for future quarterbacks in the NFL and few can match their success.