Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will ultimately be remembered as the two players who defined their NFL era.
While Patriots and Colts fans and front offices may hate each other, the league’s best two quarterbacks over the last decade have always enjoyed more of a friendly rivalry. When Brady heard Manning was likely out this weekend, he simply didn’t believe it.
“He’ll play,” Brady said early in the week via Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald.
When it became clear Manning would not play this Sunday or any other in the near future, Brady empathized.
“He’s such a competitor,” Brady told Karen Guregian of the Herald. “He’s such a tough guy. It sucks not seeing him out there. Hopefully he gets well soon. He’s a huge reason for why the NFL, why people follow it so closely. I think we as competitors, whenever you play great teams, you always want to play them with their best players. He’s been a great one for a long time.”
Brady knows what it’s like to miss essentially an entire NFL season. The words “career-threatening injury” were once casually used when Brady had post-ACL surgery infection problems. He has since won his second league MVP award.
The Patriots and Colts play for the ninth straight year in 2011, but it’s later than usual: Week 13.
At this early stage in Manning’s recovery, it would still be a surprise if we saw Brady and Manning face off this season.