BOSTON (CBS) – Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s legacies are already sealed, it can only go up from here. The outcome of Sunday’s game will not matter.
However that’s not the case for Peyton Manning, according to Tony Massarotti.
“This game is almost 100% about Peyton Manning. Just look at all the elements that are in play in this game: he has had a record setting year, he is at home, he has the better team, he’s got two fewer Super Bowl titles than Tom Brady and he’s been to three fewer games. If Peyton Manning can’t beat the Patriots this year, it goes down as a huge item in the negative column on his career – a huge mark against him,” Mazz said Thursday afternoon.
However, Mazz believes Manning also has the most to gain. Manning has the chance to reverse his reputation as a playoff choker in the AFC Championship Game with a win over his arch nemeses.
Mike Felger likened the legacy aspect of this game to other Boston athletes we are very familiar with: Bill Russell and Larry Bird.
During the 1950’s and 60’s, Bill Russell always got the better of Wilt Chamberlain.
Russell won 11 championships and is considered to be the greatest winner his sport has ever seen, similar to Tom Brady. And while Wilt Chamberlain may have been more talented, he was only able to win two titles (only one of which came before Russell retired) – which, at this point, is most similar to Peyton Manning.
So the Peyton Manning/Tom Brady rivalry has the chance to be remembered like Russell/Chamberlain, but it could also go another way, which will depend on the outcome of the AFC Championship and the remainder of the playoffs.
Should Peyton Manning win on Sunday, and go on to win his second Super Bowl, the rivalry between he and Brady will be viewed more evenly – much like how we see Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
Do you believe that Peyton Manning has the most to lose, and the most to gain on Sunday? Sound off in the comments section and listen below for the full discussion: