In the days leading up to the AFC Championship Game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, it was billed as quite possibly the last time that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning would duel against each other with so much on the line. After NFL Films captured a candid moment between Manning and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, that almost seems like a certainty.
“Hey, listen, this might my last rodeo. So, it sure has been a pleasure,” Manning said to the Patriots coach after a meeting at midfield following the Broncos’ 20-18 victory over New England. Belichick’s reply wasn’t caught on camera, and on Monday he told reporters that what he had said to Manning on Sunday would remain private. “Don’t have anything to share,” Belichick said during a press conference. “I shared it with Peyton.”
Manning expanded upon his messages to Belichick and Brady after the game without getting into specifics similar to Belichick.
“I really feel that when everybody tries to analyze me versus Tom and me versus Belichick, I think it’s more about enjoying the games and the rivalry,” Manning said to MMQB. “And today I hope everybody enjoyed that game. I know I enjoyed being there. That’s what I told Tom and Bill—that I’ve enjoyed this game and I’ve enjoyed all of them. I’ve enjoyed the rivalry and all the games we’ve been in. It’s been such an honor to play against both of them. This is my seventeenth time playing against the Patriots with Tom at quarterback. It’s my 24th against Belichick as head coach or defensive coordinator. I can’t shake either one of them. They are always there. They’re always standing between me and where our team wants to go. What a rivalry. It’s been such a big part of my career. So I wanted to take the time to pass that along to them, with how much respect I have for both of them.”
Manning will lead his Broncos in what will likely be his final game with the team at Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, CA against the Carolina Panthers on February 7. Check out the footage from the exchange below.
— ARD (@ARDFootball) January 26, 2016
Photo Credit: AP