BOSTON (CBS) — After Tom Brady and his Patriots clinched their eighth straight AFC East title with win over the Broncos in Denver, the Patriots quarterback paid a visit to a special friend.
The last time Brady had walked off the field at Sports Authority Field, he was shaking Peyton Manning’s hand, congratulating his long-time rival on an AFC Championship victory over the Patriots. Manning ended up leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 victory two weeks later and retired over the offseason.
Brady and Manning met up again following Sunday’s Patriots win, and rather than chat much football, Brady said they had a cordial conversation, catching up on each other’s family and sharing some holiday plans.
“I really like Peyton. We had a great friendship over the years and hopefully it stays that way for many years to come,” Brady told Jim Gray in his weekly interview with Westwood One. “It was nice to see him. It was a nice surprise. I didn’t realize he’d be at the game. I saw him briefly before the game, and then I saw him after the game with his kids. So it was nice to see his kids are growing up fast, just like mine are.”
Brady went 11-6 in his head-to-head matchups with Manning, one of the NFL’s best rivalries over the last 15 years.
“He wanted to beat the heck out of me as Tom Brady the football player, and that’s different than Tom Brady the person. When you’re wearing the opposing jersey, that’s just the way it goes. When you’re not wearing that jersey, postgame, it’s a whole new set of circumstances,” Brady told Gray. “There are a lot of things in common that we’ve had over the years, so it’s nice to have someone who can relate to a lot of similar experiences we’ve had. Being that we were in it together for so long at the same time, it’s really a special relationship to me.
“He and I have a lot in common over the years. I thought he was one of the very best to play the position and I always looked up to him and admired him for everything that he accomplished in the league as a great leader for his team,” added Brady. “He was just a spectacular player so I’ve always enjoyed being around him and, certainly, always talking a lot of football.”
Brady also said that winning the division with a 16-3 win over the Broncos — in Denver — had a little extra meaning to it.
“It was pretty special. This year, we’ve overcome a lot of adversity as a team. To do it in Denver, a place where we’ve struggled over the years, it was extra special. They ended our season last year and it was nice to go in and redeem ourselves a little bit,” said Brady, praising the New England defense for their performance in the victory. “We’ve had a great thing going, and we really believe in our process; how we prepare and how we study. It takes a lot of effort by a lot of people to win a division championship and I’m proud to be a part of the one we won this year.”