On Wednesday, Jan. 15, NFL.com's Albert Breer passed along a quote from the Denver Broncos superstar quarterback giving New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick about the highest praise possible:
Peyton: "Belichick is the best coach I've competed against and I think it's safe to say he'll go down as the greatest NFL coach of all-time"— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 15, 2014
Some may be quick to point out leaders such as Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll and others, but it would be extremely difficult to leave Belichick out of the conversation.
After a mostly forgettable debut with the Cleveland Browns in the mid-1990s, Belichick got a second chance with the Pats in 2000 and hasn't looked back.
From turning a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan into a Super Bowl-winning quarterback in just his second season and eventually one of the greatest signal-callers ever, to constructing some of the most dominant offenses, Belichick has gone 188-79 (.704 winning percentage) in the regular season and postseason combined during his 14-year stretch with the Patriots.
Over that span, he has won three Super Bowls (he won two others as an assistant with the New York Giants) and been named AP NFL Coach of the Year three times.
As ESPN's Chris Mortensen claimed, it's hard to argue with Manning's praise:
Peyton Manning says he believes Bill Belichick will go down as greatest coach of all time. #wontargue— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 15, 2014
Of course, Manning's comments may be coming at a time when Belichick is putting together arguably his finest performance yet.
Despite a never-ending list of injuries (Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Jerod Mayo, Aqib Talib and most recently Brandon Spikes are among those who have missed significant time this season), Belichick led the Patriots to a 12-4 record and now has them one win away from returning to the Super Bowl.
The 61-year-old is always prepared, always ready with a game plan to limit opposing teams' strengths and seemingly always gets the most out of his players.
And he makes what seems like a darn good sandwich, too.
This may seem like head games just four days before the biggest contest of the season for Manning, but in all reality, it's simply one of the smartest players in the NFL giving strong praise to someone who deserves it.