New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady expounded on his thoughts about rival Peyton Manning, who is retiring Monday, saying he has watched every game of Manning's career while marveling at how the Denver Broncos quarterback met such high expectations.
"I have file folders of his plays, of how he plays," Brady told TheMMQB.com. "It'd take years for me to watch it all again."
On Sunday, Brady posted a message on Facebook to Manning, saying: "You changed the game forever. ... It's been an honor."
Brady further detailed his thoughts to TheMMQB.com about Manning, with whom he has shared a friendship over the years, marveling at Manning's final four seasons in Denver and how he successfully switched teams late in his career.
"What just happened, winning the Super Bowl in his last game, is a perfect way to end a career," Brady said. "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."
Brady wondered what Manning must feel like, finally having all the pressure lifted off him, because he said the time and mental commitment of playing quarterback never leaves a player.
"I realized the level of commitment you must have to be great, watching him do it," Brady told TheMMQB.com. "I know the time I put in, so I knew the time he had to have put in. It's not 9 to 5. It's a lifelong commitment. Football is a sport, it's an art, it's a religion. It's all-encompassing. He mastered it."