Peyton Manning was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday and was greeted with praise from many in attendance like long-time rival Tom Brady. But he probably received the highest compliment from the Greatest Coach of All Time, Bill Belichick.
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.
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.
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.
Bill Belichick spoke about Peyton Manning’s HOF induction.
“He is definitely the best quarterback I’ve coached against,” Belichick recently told the Boston Globe‘s Ben Volin. “There have been quarterbacks who called their own plays, but it was nowhere near the same as what he did. He basically called every play by adjusting and/or changing the play once he saw what the defense was doing. He excelled at using the cadence and recognizing blitzes, and more than any one single offensive player, he forced us to change and adapt defensive game plans.”
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) August 8, 2021
Belichick also spoke highly of Manning on his retirement in 2016
“It is with great admiration that I congratulate Peyton Manning for his tremendous career in the National Football League,” Belichick said following Manning’s 2016 retirement announcement. “Peyton raised the bar as a performer and as a competitor and with a personal class in which he carried himself off the field. My relationship with Peyton is special, it is unique and it is one that I value greatly.
Bill Belichick’s career has spanned 26 years and he has faced many great QB’s. So the compliment for Peyton Manning only means that much more. But that question might get a different answer when Belichick faces Tom Brady and the Bucs in 2021.