Manning gets perhaps final word in rivalry with Brady

Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:17pm EST
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(Reuters) - Peyton Manning edged Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for perhaps the final time on Sunday, possibly getting the last word on a rivalry that has defined his career.

The Patriots have long been a roadblock in the way of Manning’s path to the Super Bowl, but in their latest AFC championship clash the wily quarterback and the Denver Broncos outlasted the Patriots 20-18.

Manning, who at 39 becomes the oldest quarterback to reach the Super Bowl, choked back emotion before he greeted Brady and longtime nemesis New England coach Bill Belichick for lengthy post-game handshakes.

“I can’t get away from either of those guys. It's been a special rivalry over the course of my career against the Patriots,” Manning told reporters.

“To play four times in the AFC Championship, with so much on the line, those games have been very special so I just wanted to take the time to share with Tom and Bill how much respect I have for them.”

The mutual respect has been earned over years of tussling. Manning and Brady have now faced off 17 times, with five of them coming in the post-season.

Brady has a 11-6 record in their head-to-head clashes.

Manning was long considered the gunslinger who smashed records en route to five regular-season MVP awards, while Brady was the gritty winner who has accumulated four Super Bowl titles.

But since Manning left Indianapolis and joined Denver for the 2012 season he has flipped the script in beating Brady in both of their AFC title tilts.   Continued...

Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports