Brady-Manning XVII super matchup for Super Bowl spot

Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:51pm EST
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - A spot in Super Bowl 50 will be on the line when the New England Patriots visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday, but the stage will belong to Tom Brady-Peyton Manning XVII.

For a decade NFL fans have debated who is better, Brady or Manning, and Sunday's outcome is not likely end that discussion.

The AFC conference championship will mark the 17th, and perhaps final, time the two future Hall of Famers will clash on the American gridiron and since the matchup was set the focus has not strayed from the quarterbacking giants.

Both Brady, 38, and Manning, a creaking 39-year-old, may be on the downward slope of brilliant careers but the rivalry, hyped to the extreme, still holds an undeniable allure.

The numbers alone are spellbinding.

Brady holds a considerable 11-5 advantage in their head-to-head meetings but in the postseason they are 2-2 with Manning coming out on top in the last two meetings.

For all his greatness Manning has not always been able to produce his best when the spotlight is brightest while Brady seems to have been born for the big stage.

Manning owns the records for passing yards and touchdowns and a trophy case packed with a five NFL most valuable player awards but is an underwhelming 12-13 in postseason play and hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy just once in three Super Bowls.   Continued...

Dec 20, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans in the second half at Gillette Stadium.  David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports