SportsNation Blog Archives New England Patriots
Manning, Broncos to the Super Bowl
Compared to the rest of his accomplishments, Peyton Manning's big-game reputation is rather lacking. Not that you would have noticed Sunday, as his Denver Broncos handled the visiting New England Patriots 26-16, earning Manning (32-of-43, 400 yards, two pass TDs) a trip to his third Super Bowl. Manning is 1-1 in the Big Game, and another win could send him even higher up the all-time QB charts. Meanwhile, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were denied trips to their sixth Super Bowl together, and one must wonder if they'll ever make it back.
Trading Places: Brady and Manning
What if Peyton Manning had come up under the coaching of Bill Belichick in New England with Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski as targets? What if Tom Brady had been drafted in the sixth round by the Colts and formed a bond with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne? Greg Garber reached out to several players and front-office personnel to get their opinions on just how much the coaching and supporting casts have meant to these two quarterbacks. We'll take it a step further and ask you: What if the players stayed put and the coaches switched sides? Cast your votes on all these scenarios and more below.
pollcenter:category=4932+tradingplaces_bradyandmanningAP Photo/Jack Dempsey
The Wes Welker advantage?
Most of the attention leading up to the AFC Championship Game will focus on the 15th meeting between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But if you are looking for another X factor, how about Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, who spent six seasons in New England under the tutelage of Bill Belichick and caught passes from Brady? Welker left New England this past offseason after he was unable to come to terms on a new contract and has settled in nicely in Denver. A late-season concussion caused him to miss five weeks, but he returned in time to score an important touchdown in the Broncos' divisional-round win over the Chargers. Does having Welker on the roster give the Broncos a distinct advantage against the Patriots? Will Welker torch his former team?
AFC Championship Game
And so they meet again. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will face off once more in the AFC Championship Game, this time with Manning wearing a Broncos jersey. Brady owns the overall rivalry with a 10-4 record against Manning, although the two have split AFC title games with New England winning in 2003 and Manning's Colts advancing to the Super Bowl in 2006. Which team will come out on top this season? Will the Patriots be in Manning's head after their unbelievable comeback in Week 12 to defeat the Broncos in overtime?