New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning both had a lot to prove this past Sunday, Feb. 5. Super Bowl XVLI was the chance both men had to add to their legacy.
Manning was criticized from the day he was drafted number one overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2004. He did not want to play with the Chargers, forcing them to trade him. Also living in the shadow of his older brother, future hall of famer and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, did not make his journey to success any easier. Manning has accomplished many things since his rookie season.
He not only captured a Super Bowl title faster than Peyton, but he also earned Super Bowl MVP faster when he won it in 2008. Eli now has done something that Peyton has never done: earn a second ring. On the way to Super Bowl XVLI, Manning broke the record for most road playoff wins for a quarterback with five wins. However, his Super Bowl opponent knows a lot about breaking records.
Brady has a myriad of passing, touchdown, NFL, team records, personal accomplishments and MVP trophies. None of those records would have been more important to his legacy than adding a fourth Super Bowl victory.
Including this year, Brady has played in five Super Bowls, a record he shares with former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway. He broke the record for most touchdowns thrown by a quarterback in a season with 50. Brady won both regular season and Super Bowl MVP twice, a record he also shares with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, according to information from ESPN.com.
Manning may not hold as many records or have the same list of accomplishments as Brady, but he has beaten him in two Super Bowls now, something that no other team or quarterback has done against Brady and the Patriots.
The Giants and Manning have also done well recently against their Super Bowl opponent. The all-time series between the two teams dates back to 1970.The series is tied 5-5, but the Patriots haven’t been able to defeat the Giants since 2007, according to ESPN.com. Earlier this season, the Giants defeated the Patriots 24-20.
Although Brady lost Sunday, the Patriots still have a promising team and Brady is in the prime of his career, so they are sure to have more to come. He has the rings to back his stats and looks to add more in the future. For now, Brady will have to be content with three rings.
For the quarterbacks in this year’s Super Bowl, more was at stake than the opportunity for fame and a ring. Manning tried to make a name for himself, while Brady looked to take the role of a quarterback to a new level.