On Sunday, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning announced his retirement after a brilliant 18-year career, and he drew praise, congratulations, and gratitude from all around the league - from other teams to opponents to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
That list includes Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who will forever be linked to Manning. The two were the two best quarterbacks of a generation and their teams faced off 17 times, including five times in the playoffs. Four AFC Championship games were decided by a Manning vs. Brady matchup. They both will be remembered among the very best of all-time, regardless of how you rank them.
The MMQB's Peter King caught up with Brady on Sunday to talk with him about Peyton Manning's career, and Brady had plenty to say about it.
"Every game he has played, I have watched," Brady told King. "I have file folders of his plays, of how he plays. It'd take years for me to watch it all again. But what he's done in Denver has been incredible. Think of what he did - changing teams, changing organizations, at his age, and then in four years going to two Super Bowls with that team.
"What just happened, winning the Super Bowl in his last game, is a perfect way to end a career," he continued. "But what he's accomplished through all these years, what makes it so admirable, is the pressure he's had on him his whole life. He was the highest-rated recruit in high school. He was the biggest quarterback in college football. He was the first pick in the draft. Who has lived up to the expectations year after year after year as well as Peyton? He's done it so gracefully, so admirably. He set the standard for how to play the quarterback position."
Though Brady and Manning have been rivals on the field, they have nothing but respect for each other. Brady also mentioned to King that he respects Manning's work ethic and that it has helped him become the quarterback he is today as well.
All sorts of people are congratulating Peyton Manning on an incredible career, and deservedly so. Manning would send letters to players upon their retirement, and now it's his turn to receive those notes of congratulations. It's cool to hear someone like Tom Brady - who has been continually compared to Manning and who presented a rival for number 18 - to talk about Manning's legacy in the NFL.