Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have been competing against one another for all 16 years Brady has been in the league, including most recently when Manning’s Broncos beat the Patriots, 20-18 in the AFC championship.
Brady and Manning are friends off the field, so appearing on Westwood One radio prior to Super Bowl 50, Jim Gray asked Brady what it would be like if Manning were to win the game.
“I think there is always mixed emotions when you have people that you have competed with and competed against for so long,” Brady said. “In so many ways you have a mutual respect and admiration for one another. In other ways you’re very competitive about who wins and who loses.
“At the same time, if he wins I think it’s an incredible thing for him to be able to accomplish and I would be very happy for him as a friend. I would also be very jealous that he won a Super Bowl. There’s a lot of conflict internally. At the same time, you have to have appreciation because it’s so hard to do and I think I am a person that has always had great appreciation for the players who play the game and sacrifice so much, give up so much of their bodies and their families and their time commitments to play this sport that America loves.”
Brady was also asked about Manning and his potential retirement. The Patriots quarterback said it would be a nice way for him to go out with a win, but if he does want to return, Brady is ready to compete against him once again.
“Peyton has done it at such a high level for such a long time,” Brady said. “People have enjoyed watching him play for so long. It will be a sad day when he does retire. If he goes out on top with a Super Bowl victory, there’s no better way to finish your career than that. If he wants to come back and play more and try and do it again, let the competition begin.”
“I know him and he’s a very competitive person. If there is any bit of competitiveness left in him, I’m sure he would want to come back and play more,” Brady added. “He has too much love for the game to go out without exhausting every last bit of his entire body. Nobody loves the sport as much as Peyton and I think he and I have that in common.”