FOXBORO (CBS) — Considering they both play quarterback and therefore never actually go against each other, it’s a little disingenuous to try to bill any matchup between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as a clash of two future Hall of Famers. More accurately, Brady will be going up against the Denver defense on Sunday, just as Manning will be trying to beat the New England defense.
Alas, the Brady-Manning matchup is too good to pass up as a talking point during the week for fans and media members. But as far as Brady himself goes, the quarterback said he hasn’t spent too much time thinking about his counterpart this week.
“I appreciate playing great football teams, and he’s a great leader on that football team. And this game is about the Broncos and the Patriots. I know that they’ve got a great quarterback on the other side of the ball,” Brady said on Friday. “I love playing football. Truthfully, I’m just not focused on that [rivalry with Manning] at this point. I wake up every morning and try to come here and focus on my job and do what I need to do. I don’t read much, I don’t do much. I just sort of show up and get ready for practice and then get my treatment and get ready to go out and play and know the challenge that’s ahead. It’s just not really on my mind, not this week.”
For as much as the fans of one quarterback may feel a certain distaste for the other (New England may be the only region in the country that does not universally adore Manning), the two have made it clear over the years that the rivalry does not extend off the playing field.
“We’ve played against each other a lot and we’ve both played a lot of football,” Manning said on Thursday. “I enjoy really trying to get to know a number of quarterbacks. Any chance to get to spend some time with them, maybe in the offseason at a banquet or at a golf tournament — talking a little ball — I’ve always enjoyed that part of it. And I’ve certainly enjoyed doing that with Tom during the times we’ve had a chance to do that.”
The two quarterbacks’ teams have played against each other 14 times already, with Brady’s Patriots emerging victorious in 10 of those meetings. Still, Brady didn’t place any added significance on the games he’s played against Manning’s teams than he does any other.
“I love playing, so I enjoy all the games,” Brady said. “I enjoy AFC Championship Games, I enjoyed last week’s game. I enjoyed the game against Buffalo. I enjoyed the game against Baltimore and Cleveland. They all mean something. They’re all important. We all work hard and sacrifice a lot, and it’s all worth it, because that’s our choice. We’re fortunate to be able to do a job that we love to do and get paid for it and certainly have fans that cheer us on and family that supports us.
“There’s a lot of things to be grateful and appreciate of, and a lot of things I’ll miss when I’m done playing. Hopefully that’s not any time soon though.”