Peyton Manning didn’t get to Canton without battling through a legendary rivalry.
The foil to his many Super Bowl ambitions will be in attendance to witness Manning’s entry into football mortality.
Tom Brady is making the trip to Northeast Ohio to attend the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 enshrinement ceremony on Sunday, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians will be joining Brady at the enshrinement ceremony. Arians coached Manning in the quarterback’s first three professional seasons in Indianapolis, which included a rookie campaign in which Manning led the league in interceptions thrown with 28.
The struggles didn’t last long for Manning, who reversed his rookie-year performance by throwing 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while helping the Colts finish with a 13-3 mark in 1999. Arians and Manning parted ways after one more season, and it wouldn’t be long before Manning and Brady began a rivalry that would last for more than a decade.
Manning and Brady are only a year apart in age and two in draft class, yet Manning has been retired for five years, earning first-ballot status when he was selected to the Class of 2021. His choice was nothing but a formality, as he and Brady dominated the debate over who held the title of the best quarterback in the league during much of their respective careers. Often, it came down to one simple question: Manning or Brady?
When it came to wins, Brady ended up on the better side of history, finishing 11-6 in head-to-head matchups. It was Brady’s Patriots who frequently ended Indianapolis’ Super Bowl ambitions before the Colts could reach the conference title game, and it often happened in snowy Foxborough. Manning tended to get the best of Brady on the doorstep of the Super Bowl, though, going 3-1 against Brady in AFC Championship Game meetings.
Manning retired a champion, winning Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos and riding off into the sunset following the 2015 season. Five years later, he’s set to accept his gold jacket, bronze bust and place inside the hallowed halls of Canton. Brady will follow in his footsteps one day and get a preview of what the scene might look like this weekend. In the meantime, he still has another ring to chase.