Bill Belichick has worked in football for a long time. He has coached in the NFL for nearly four decades and has been around some all-time greats. So, when the New England Patriots head coach — who is typically pretty short during interviews — has praise for a particular player, you know that he absolutely means it. And that’s precisely what Belichick recently had when he shared a fascinating admission about his former arch-rival: Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning.
Peyton Manning and Bill Belichick were NFL rivals
The Patriots, of course, had some all-time great teams during the years Manning was the Colts’ quarterback; they won multiple Super Bowls.
But Indy kept them from winning even more.
New England won three championships in four seasons with Belichick and Brady from 2001 through 2004. The Pats beat Manning and Indy in the playoffs twice in those years, once in the AFC Championship Game.
However, during the 2006 season, the Colts got their revenge, beating the Patriots in the AFC title game, 38-34, before going on to win the Super Bowl over the Chicago Bears that year. Had the Colts not won that game, New England could have very well won its fourth title in six seasons.
The Patriots then reached the Super Bowl again during the 2007 and 2011 seasons, while the Colts went during the 2009 campaign. In 2012, though, Manning moved to the Denver Broncos, and he and Denver ultimately beat Belichick, Brady, and the Pats in two AFC Championship Games during the 2013 and 2015 seasons.
Manning and Belichick’s teams were essentially two of the best squads in the NFL for about 15 years. Given their dominance over the rest of the league, they ultimately went at each other year after year, leading to Belichick going 12-8 overall against Manning. The Colts legend, on the other hand, went 3-2 against the Patriots in the playoffs and 3-1 in AFC Championship Games.
The New England Patriots head coach had high praise for Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning is no longer pestering Bill Belichick while serving as the Colts and Broncos’ quarterback; he recently entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So, since the Patriots head coach no longer has to game plan for Manning and can just reflect on their battles, he shared an intriguing admission about the legend.
“He is definitely the best quarterback I’ve coached against,” Belichick said to The Boston Globe, per ProFootballTalk. “There have been quarterbacks who called their own plays, but it was nowhere near the same as what he did. He basically called every play by adjusting and/or changing the play once he saw what the defense was doing. He excelled at using the cadence and recognizing blitzes, and more than any one single offensive player, he forced us to change and adapt defensive gameplans.”
If that’s not high praise, nothing is. Belichick has been in the league long enough to coach against guys like John Elway, Joe Montana, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Patrick Mahomes. But out of all the QBs he’s faced, Manning was the best.
That proves just how dominant the five-time NFL MVP was during his career. It’s no wonder he’s in the Hall of Fame.
Belichick, though, will eventually be in there with him.
Bill Belichick will eventually enter the Hall of Fame as well
Once he became eligible, Peyton Manning was a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, and the same will go with Bill Belichick.
He’s a six-time Super Bowl champion, a three-time AP Coach of the Year, and is third in NFL history in total wins with 280. His Patriots also only missed the playoffs once in 17 seasons from 2003 through 2019 and twice in 19 seasons from 2001 through 2019.
To put it simply: His teams have always been dominant and some of the NFL’s best.
No, Belichick isn’t done adding to his legacy quite yet, but once he is, he will certainly be in the Hall of Fame. Manning will probably have just as high of praise for him, too.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference