Peyton Manning takes shots at Tom Brady over pass to Gronk, fourth down confusion

Getty Images

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady threw a pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski that appeared to find Gronk between three Green Bay defenders and drew praise as a great pass on the game broadcast. But Peyton Manning says it wasn’t a great pass at all.

On the Detail show Manning does for ESPN, Manning broke down the play and said Brady was actually trying to hit Mike Evans — and then Manning took another shot at Brady for appearing not to realize it was fourth down on the Bucs’ last play of their loss to the Bears.

“Do you think Tom was throwing to Gronk?” Manning asked. “Troy Aikman thought he was. Thought it was one of the best throws he made all game. I’m not so sure. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s coming out here to Evans.”

Manning broke down Brady’s options on the play and what was going through Brady’s mind.

“I’m going to throw kind of a high ball to Evans that’s going to be Evans’ ball or nobody else’s, but guess who runs right underneath it? It’s Gronk,” Manning said. “Will we get Tom to admit who he was throwing to? I don’t think so. He wouldn’t admit that he didn’t know it was fourth down. There’s no way he’s going to admit he wasn’t throwing to Gronk, especially after Aikman says, What an unbelievable throw.”

Manning said that because reporters aren’t allowed in NFL locker rooms this year, Brady isn’t getting the scrutiny he otherwise would.

“You don’t have to explain it, especially via these Zoom interviews these guys are getting to do,” Manning said. “How lucky are these guys? No press conferences with reporters right in your face, asking you, Who were you throwing to? Why did you take that sack? Were you going for it on fourth down? Did you know it was fourth down? The Zoom interviews, they’re easy to do, so you don’t have to explain it.”

Manning may have been partially joking about Brady, with whom he has long had a friendly rivalry. But there also seemed to be some truth in what Manning was saying, that he thinks Brady has gotten a pass for some big mistakes this season.

62 responses to “Peyton Manning takes shots at Tom Brady over pass to Gronk, fourth down confusion

  1. This is objectively interesting and legitimate. Nothing wrong with a HOF QB dissecting a play. It DOES make sense he’s throwing to Evans. Nevermind the 4th down business.
    This is good stuff, everyone relax

  2. Peytonstein and his fused together neck wish they were still out there losing to Brady. Sad.

  3. If this wasn’t meant for Gronk, that is the luckiest throw Brady’s ever made. He just happened to hit the guy he’s thrown 91 TD’s to in stride.

  4. Isn’t this the reason Manning didn’t want to do tv? He would call it like he sees it and that wouldn’t go over with other players that well, and specifically Eli.

  5. The way to get attention and ratings on one of these “analysis” shows is to throw (verbal) bombs. Manning is just playing the broadcast game. It’s an easy way to get attention. Once again, Peyton riding Brady’s coat tails.

  6. First off, they’re friends. So I’m sure they go back and forth on stuff all the time with the camaraderie and respect that goes along with it.

    Make no mistake though—Peyton knows what everyone does, and he feels it not so deep under that skin. Historically, it’s Brady, then everyone else. That fact will never leave, so there will always be some passive-aggressive jabbing.

    Kind of like Mickelson when he’s around Tiger. Even though Mickelson is great, he knows who the top dog is.

  7. Obviously if you read the comments it looks like a shot below the belt, but if you actually WATCHED the show you know it’s Peyton being Peyton. Him and Brady are friends, and Peyton throws jabs at everyone. Whatever. I’m a Bucs fan and see no issue with this personally, but I’m sure people will be mad

  8. Sorry Manning, but I’m going to take the word of Aikman, who not only was calling the game but also doesn’t have an axe to grind with Brady.

  9. Brady was lucky, but luck plays a huge role in football. The ball going to an unintended player happens all of the time.

    The bottom line is that the Bucs won

  10. Peyton and Brady faced off in the AFC Championship game four times. Peyton won three of the four. Twice Brady faced off with Peyton’s brother in the Super Bowl. He lost both times. In spite of all the cheating, Brady still couldn’t get it done when going up against the Manning brothers.

  11. it’s time we all recognize that peyton was a gigantic choke artist. I can tell you first hand EVERYONE in indy would take TB12 10 out of 10 times over peyton if given the chance. he beat us like a rug over and over and over :'(

  12. I thought the same thing in regards to the pass to Gronk. Sure looked like Evans was the intended target. And well, the 4th down play in Chicago speaks for itself.

  13. Did he analyze the deep TD throw to Miller, a pass that had a window of about a foot wide and a foot deep, to a well-covered smallish WR? The one that the announcer said was like dropping a ball into a 5 gallon bucket from 50 yards out?

    That throw was amazing.

    The frozen rope scrambling TD toss to Godwin that unfortunately broke Godwin’s finger was quite a play too.

  14. Nice! The best QB ever laying it down. However, Brady not knowing it was 4th down is so overblown. So, what was he thinking, I’m going to throw a crappy pass to Gronk because I know I got another down? Ah, no. Kinda irrelevant IMO.

  15. Peyton’s thought process explains why he only won one SB. The second one was a gift from the Defense and a number of calls that went the Broncos’ way.

    That and the fact that Brady still lives rent-free in Peyton’s head.

  16. Brady is not very accurate when throwing downfield. He constantly underthrows the ball which results in a penalty due to his receiver having to stop and wait for the pass.

  17. I think it’s just light hearted banters between Manning and Brady, who are friends. I would agree with Peyton if the ball catcher was a different receiver other than Gronk. But the telepathic connection between Gronk and Brady is uncanny. There were so many catches in their Patriots days that you thought they both have a third eye!

  18. If there’s anything Brady never has to worry about, it’s throwing 28 interceptions in a single season, or even 18 picks for that matter. No one threw pick-sixes in super bowls quite like Peyton Manning.

  19. How many super bowls does Belichick have without Brady? And, I do mean as a head coach, not riding the coattails of Bill Parcells.

  20. How many Super Bowls does Brady have without Belichick?


    In case you thought the Brady “analysis” couldn’t get any more lame…here you go.


  21. ruffbufffire says:
    October 28, 2020 at 1:25 pm
    To be the GOAT you have to be lucky sometimes.


    “The more I practice, the luckier I get”

    -Ben Hogan

  22. The fact that Payton Manning didn’t take the MNF offer from ESPN tells me all I need to know about ESPN. Nobody wants involved with that dumpster fire if they can avoid it.

  23. I don’t see any “shots” taken at Brady. Just critical analysis from a HOF quarterback.

  24. It takes 2 people to be in sync for a long pass to be perfect. THe QB has to put it in the area, but it is the receiver that has to adjust his speed and direction so that the pass is caught.

    Deandre Hopkins made Deshaun Watson look like a great QB. Now, with Hopkins, Watson looks average at best.

  25. Well, Peyton knows a thing or two about receiving something meant for someone else on the same team. Allegedly.

  26. As a Patriots fan one of the best memories was watching Peyton hang his head and state at the ground after losing to Brady, again.

  27. Mahomes > Brady


    Maybe one day. Not yet. He’s got a chance I guess.

    Odds are, probably never. Long way to go, and quite a lot to accomplish to get into that discussion.

  28. I presume he said all this with the same tone that he used when he hosted SNL, including a skit when he got competitive with children. Manning knows how to do sarcastic verbal jabs!

  29. Nonsense. Look at the tape. It’s plainly to Gronkowski. Peyton’s stretching here to make his little show more interesting. Out on a limb, indeed.

  30. Anyone taking this seriously doesn’t recognize that Manning is being his typical goofball self. Manning enjoys poking fun at others, but he is also the first to make fun of himself. In the words of Aaron Rodgers, R-E-L-A-X.

  31. Most people seem to think the less we hear from Peyton the better off society will be. That includes his hokey ommercials and the dimwitted TV show.

  32. Watch many of Manning’s games from 2002 onward. You’ll see how elite he was. One of the best. Brady isn’t as good.

    Love that he threw shade though.

  33. That wasn’t an accident. Brady and Gronk know their routes with eyes closed. Peyton must miss his rivalry with Brady, like we do. He still insert himself in the game.

  34. From a guy who did alot of choking in the playoffs, this is rich. And I can’t stand Tommy Boy.


  35. Detractors want to make the 4th down thing out to be such a big deal. It wasn’t. They had maybe a 10% chance to win the game, and losing track of the downs cost them maybe 10% of that, maximum. So 1% overall. Anyone who saw the final drive would agree. Whether it was 3rd or 4th down, the goal on that play was essentially the same.

  36. @usfl4ever

    And twice Manning had to be bailed out by his defenses because his play in the ’06 and ’15 playoffs was so bad that he would not have won any SB’s if not for a defense playing great. In SB’s, Manning was a combined 38 for 61 388 yds. 1 TD and 2 INT’s. That is terrible. Trent Dilfer was 12 for 25 153 yds. 1 TD and 0 INT’s. Brad Johnson was 18 for 34 215 yds. 2 TD’s and 1 INT. Yeah that is how bad Manning has been in the SB. Heck in ’06 playoffs, Manning had more INT’s than TD’s. Manning was compiler. Great? Yes, but when compared against the all time great’s, he choked consistently in the big moments.

  37. Big Peyton fan here, he did much for my Broncos, but I am confused. He turned down a zillion dollar offer from MNF because he didnt want to take shots at current players, particularly his brother who was still playing then. Now, his latest blast on Brady, who I dont care for but respect. This seems very out of character for Manning. Beats the hell out of me why he has suddenly turned so critical and pointed. Not a good look, Peyton.

  38. Peyton knows this is the only way he can catch up to Brady !! Curious how Peyton would have taken it had another HOF been reviewing his plays during his games especially so many playoff failures !!

  39. You can see Brady’s head turn twice away from Evans to Gronk as Brady tracks Gronk but wants to make sure Evan’s defender doesn’t drift upfield. Evans also, yes, turns upfield for a moment, but immediately stops running so as not to pull his defender into the space Gronk’s route is literally designed to go to.

    The idea that Brady was ‘lucky’ to hit Gronk on the hands on a play with a designed over route two-level concept is absurd. Pretty sure Peyton knows that.

  40. It’s called trying to build an audience, not a realistic assessment. Peyton is trying to be the “Johnny Miller” of football. I’m sure they’re not paying him to just sit there and do commercials for whatever insurance company he’s shilling for. I also doubt Brady cares too much one way or the other what anyone says about it. Gronk caught it and the Bucs won. Oh, and Brady was named the Offensive Player of the Week over his game, so end of story. Feed the GOAT… he’s hungry and he’s eating up other teams…again.

  41. Yeah watching the play and analysis it seems like a stretch that Brady only considered throwing to Evans the entire 4 seconds he was holding the ball despite Evans being well covered and Gronk clearly having a step on his defender coming across the field. He wasn’t waiting for an improvised route from Evans. He was likely looking at Evans to hold his defender there before firing over his head to Gronk. Aikman was a QB too and he thought it was clearly intended for Gronk. Regardless, it’s the height of nitpicking to suggest a big completion thrown on the money down the field was a “mistake”

  42. Peyton and the Denver offense went 1-14 on 3rd down in their SB win over the Carolina Panthers in 2015. 1-14. And they won easily. Talk about a gift…

  43. The ball comes out too smooth and deliberate with no hesitation to be an accident. If you look at the video, right before Brady releases the ball, Gronk is already within Brady’s peripheral vision. It ain’t a fluke!

  44. Brady has absolutely, unequivically eviscerated Manning in the GOAT debate and he is pissed

  45. Peyton Manning is doing Tide Detergent commercials! Next thing he will do is Depends Diapers for old men and Commerials and selling used Wheelchairs!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.