Peyton Manning (left) and Tom Brady (right) shake hands after a 2004 playoff game
For the past decade, fans have always gotten excited every time the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts square off, because it is a rarity that one game features the game's two best quarterbacks—Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
Every year, fans have to suffer through the same old thing. ESPN, along with every major sports network, features a poll and/or discussion about who the better quarterback is.
There's actually a poll on ESPN's website right now about who the better quarterback is. There's also a full-fledged breakdown regarding their ability to throw the deep ball, accuracy, toughness, intelligence, leadership and mechanics.
Despite the fact that they are compared for at least two weeks before they meet up every year, neither player has ever put down the other one, and as far as things look they are actually friends.
There is no quarterback vs. quarterback rivalry in the NFL. They are never on the field at the same time, ever. The only reason they should ever be compared is just for sports fanatics to debate who the best quarterback in the game is. Even then, it's all just fun.
Why must this supposed rivalry be dissected every year by the same people? The same questions always lead to the same answers. Manning is better statistically, and Brady has three rings. Nothing has changed.
The real rivalry that people ignore is the head coaches and defensive coordinators of each team and the quarterbacks themselves. The biggest challenge for any coach is to stop players like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
Bill Belichick and Peyton Manning have gone at it for years now. Defensive coordinators have come and gone for the Patriots, but they all have the same goal: Contain Manning. The average fan can see it on a play-by-play basis. Manning runs up to the line, calling out audible after audible, trying to trip up the defense. The defense masks their coverage, adjusts to the audible, re-adjusts again and repeat.
It's more fun to analyze the way that the Patriots staff and Manning, or the Colts staff and Brady, play chess, as opposed to asking every year, "Who's better: Brady or Manning?"
The media needs to drop this supposed rivalry and start focusing more on the football aspect of it, not just the celebrity aspect of it. Both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are first ballot Hall of Famers. The media needs to stop turning this into a beauty pageant, because it's honestly just getting old.
The Patriots and Colts have been the mark of consistency in the NFL for the past decade, thus making it a very competitive team vs. team rivalry. That's all it is though—one great team against another. Both just happen to have all-time great quarterbacks leading them.