Peyton Manning often had to match up against the invincible Brady-Belichick Patriots. But the Sheriff was not willing to back down from the Champs, even when the opportunity arose.
Peyton Manning had one of the most prolific careers in NFL history. His accumulated list of accolades is lengthy, but includes items like 5x MVP, 7x first team All-Pro, and 14x Pro-Bowler.
Peyton Manning is one of 10 QBs selected to the #NFL100 All-Time Team!
🏆 2x Super Bowl Champion
5x NFL MVP (’03, ’04, ’08, ’09, ’13)
🏆 7x First-Team All-Pro, 14x Pro Bowler
🏆 Set single-season NFL records for pass yards (5,477), pass TD (55) in 2013 pic.twitter.com/KXFZK6Huas
— NFL (@NFL) December 28, 2019
Of course, in his 18 year NFL career, he won 2 Super Bowls. The first came with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 and the second came in his final season in the league, with the Denver Broncos.
After 13 (mostly) spectacular seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Manning missed the entire 2011 season with a neck injury. And then left the franchise the next year and played four more seasons with the Broncos, winning a second Super Bowl in 2015.
Peyton Manning stayed in the AFC because of the New England Patriots.
Peyton Manning and Bill Belichick matched wits during several of the biggest NFL games of the 21st Century.
Belichick went 12-8 against teams that were quarterbacked by Manning. Manning, however, went 3-1 against Belichick’s Patriots in AFC championship games. In 2006, the Colts overcame a 21-3 deficit to defeat the Patriots, 38-34, en route to franchise’s first title since moving to Indianapolis in 1984. With the Broncos in 2013, Manning threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns in Denver’s 26-16 win over the Patriots to clinch the AFC title.
After the Colts moved on from him, with a chance to choose his own fate, the Hall of Famer kept his biggest rival in mind when he decided where to take his talents.
“If you’re a fan, it’s like, ‘Please get away from the Patriots, go play in the NFC,’” Manning said during a recent podcast appearance on The Ringer.“I don’t know, it’s like, if you’re gonna get in the Super Bowl, you’re gonna have to go through New England, so might as well just play them in the AFC Championship Game every year to have the chance to win the Super Bowl.”
He further added, “New England had a little bit of a role in my decision to stay in the AFC, believe it or not.”
New England fans experienced more heartbreak because of his fateful decision. The team suffered close losses against the Broncos in 2013 and 2015 that prevented them from representing the conference. If Manning had taken his talents to an NFC team, Brady and Belichick could easily have made two more Super Bowl appearances.