While each of these future Hall of Fame quarterbacks has downplayed the rival aspect of their star-crossed careers over the years, Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady is one of the greatest individual rivalries in the history of sports. A rivalry that took on a life of its own, even to the point of taking center stage over the actual football games themselves at times. It could even be argued that this epic feud transcended the gridiron into the annals of popular culture. From the water cooler to every sports-related television and radio program, Manning vs. Brady evolved into a significant topic of conversation and debate among the masses that will likely stand the test of time.
Manning and Brady faced off 17 times in this great rivalry that dates back to 2001. The last meeting occurred on Jan. 24, 2016 in the AFC Championship Game which resulted in a 20-18 win for Manning and the Broncos en route to a Super Bowl 50 victory. Let’s take a closer look at the all-time tale-of-the-tape from the 17 career matchups between these two legendary signal-callers, as well 15 amazing statistics associated with arguably the greatest QB rivalry in NFL history.
Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady
Tale of the Tape
Manning vs. Brady: 15 Amazing Statistics
The number of draft positions separating Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in their respective draft classes. Manning was selected first overall by the Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft out of the University of Tennessee. Brady was selected by the Patriots with the 199th overall pick (6th round) in the 2000 draft out of the University of Michigan.
Brady won each of the first six games in which he faced a Manning-led team from 2001-05. It also stands as the longest win streak for either quarterback in their head-to-head series. Manning would go on to win the next three games from 2005-07.
The number of games in the rivalry in which Manning threw for 300 or more yards. Brady threw in excess of 300 yards in just five of the 17 meetings.
The number of times Manning threw for more than 400 yards in the series. He threw for 400 yards in the 2013 AFC Championship Game victory and then for 438 yards in a Week 9 loss at New England during the 2014 season. Brady never threw for 400 or more yards in his matchups vs. Manning. Brady's highest passing yardage total in the rivalry came in a 2009 loss when Manning was with the Colts. Brady threw for 375 yards in that game.
The number of games in which Brady did not throw an interception against a Manning-led team. Brady did not throw a single pick in any of his first five contests matched up against Manning. Brady had a 6-2 record against Manning in games without an interception. Manning had just four games in the 17-game series without an interception. Manning had a 3-1 record in those contests.
Manning and Brady each threw 50 or more passes in their games against each other. Manning had 52 pass attempts in his last game against Brady as a Colt in 2010 and topped that with 57 throws in a 2014 meeting. Brady had 53 attempts of his own in that game, a 43-21 Patriots win at home in Week 9. Brady also had 56 pass attempts in a loss to the Broncos in the 2015 AFC Championship game. In addition, Brady threw 50 passes in the 2013 regular-season matchup against the Broncos, a 34-31 overtime victory in Week 12.
The total combined number of passing yards for Brady and Manning in their 17 meetings. Manning was responsible for 4,985 of those yards with Brady accounting for the other 4,323.
The combined total number of touchdowns from the duo in 17 games. Manning had 35 touchdown passes and three rushing touchdowns, while Brady has 32 scores through the air and an identical three on the ground.
The total number of games in which Brady and Manning threw at least three touchdown passes in a game in this rivalry. Brady had seven such performances, while Manning accomplished this feat five times.
The average margin of victory in the 17 combined games between Manning and Brady. While there were some notable nail-biters in the series, the rivalry also saw its fair share of blowouts.
While Brady held an 11-6 edge overall against Manning in the rivalry, Manning went 6-5 against Brady over the last 11 matchups.
The 2015 AFC Championship Game marked the fifth time that Manning and Brady opposed each other in the playoffs. That is most of any two quarterbacks in NFL history. The postseason tally was 3-2 in favor of Manning. Brady won the first two playoff matchups in the 2003 and '04 seasons, with Manning taking home victories in the last three (2006, '13, '15 seasons).
The number of times Brady and Manning faced one another in the AFC Championship Game. Manning held a 3-1 edge over Brady in games with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
Brady led the Patriots to a 24-20 win against Manning’s Colts in Indianapolis in 2007. It marked the last time that either quarterback won a road game in the series. Subsequently, they met seven times with the home team winning each matchup.
The number of times Brady and the Patriots hosted Manning at home in the 17-game series. Nine of those 10 home matchups were played in Gillette Stadium. The other was played in the now-demolished Foxboro Stadium in 2001. Foxboro Stadium would serve as the very first venue for the Manning vs. Brady rivalry. Manning faced Brady at home a combined seven times as a Colt and Bronco (four times in the now-demolished RCA Dome as a Colt, once in Lucas Oil Stadium as a Colt, and twice times at Sports Authority Field at Mile High as a Bronco)
— Written by Rob McVey, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @Rob_UTVOLS.