Are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning Friends?

The football careers of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will be inextricably linked for the rest of their lives. Sharing one of the most dynamic rivalries in NFL history, both quarterbacks were so prolific that it’s difficult to determine who was better. It also raises another more difficult question to answer: are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning friends? 

The stats behind Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning

Statistically speaking, both Brady and Manning have put up incredible numbers. First, take a look at what Manning accomplished during his career

  • 186 victories
  • 539 touchdowns
  • 65.3% completion percentage
  • Two Super Bowl championships (one with Indianapolis, one with Denver)
  • 71,940 passing yards
  • Five-time Most Valuable Player Award winner
  • 2004 and 2013 AP Offensive Player of the Year
  • 14-time Pro Bowler

Now, take a look at Brady’s accomplishments

  • 207 victories
  • 517 touchdowns
  • 65.8% completion percentage
  • Six Super Bowl championships (all with New England)
  • 70,514 passing yards
  • Three-time Most Valuable Player Award winner
  • 2007 and 2009 AP Offensive Player of the Year
  • 14-time Pro Bowler

Other than Brady’s sizable advantage in terms of Super Bowl wins, those numbers are as close as it gets. To judge the players, it also helps to look at their teams’ performances against each other during both men’s careers.

How Manning and Brady fared head-to-head

It’s hard to think of another QB rivalry with the intensity of Brady versus Manning. Both players entered the league at roughly the same time and spent the bulk of their careers at the top of their game. The fact that their primes coincided made for excellent games over the years in both the regular and postseason. 

Athlon Sports provided a breakdown of the two players’ head-to-head record against each other. Here’s how they stack up: 

  • Wins: Brady 11, Manning 6
  • Team points per game: Brady 29.2, Manning 24.2
  • Passing yards: Manning 4,985, Brady 4,323
  • Touchdowns: Manning 35, Brady 32
  • Interceptions: Manning 22, Brady 15
  • Completion percentage: Brady 64.7%, Manning 61.3%
  • QB rating: Brady 92.8, Manning 87.7
  • Rushing touchdowns: Manning 3, Brady 3

From 2001 to 2005, Brady won the first six matchups between the two, with Manning winning the next three from 2005 to 2007. In nine of the games, Manning threw for 300 yards while Brady managed to do so in only five. 

Are Brady and Manning friends?

With two super-serious competitors like Manning and Brady, it’s easy to think they don’t get along off the field. The two had many battles in both the regular season and playoffs. Both athletes notably hate losing and do whatever it takes to win. So, a little acrimony would be expected. 

In reality? They apparently don’t have any ill will towards one another. 

Brady recently posted the above selfie to Instagram. In it, he poses with Manning over the caption, “Spoiler alert … we were friends this whole time.” 

While each one no doubt hates losing, both men undoubtedly have a lot of respect for one another. Both have won multiple Super Bowls. Both are among the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. While their exact spot on anyone’s top-QB list is debatable, it’s hard to argue against both belonging in everyone’s top five. 

Now that Manning has been retired for three years, Brady took a moment to inject a little levity into his social media feed to show the two warriors sharing a friendly picture together. It’s the type of candid moment that makes this new era of social media-motivated transparency for star athletes so cool.