When it comes to all-time NFL quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are both near the top of the list. Understandably, that reality has bred a bit of a rivalry between the two signal-callers; every season turned into a defacto competition to see who could outperform the other. That battle hasn’t stopped, even in retirement.
After besting Tom Brady in “The Match 2,” Peyton Manning apparently wasn’t done. In fact, the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback just scored another victory over his longtime rival.
Peyton Manning’s impressive NFL career
These days, most of Peyton Manning’s appearances are limited to his ESPN series and countless commercials. During his time on the football field, however, the quarterback established himself as one of the greatest players in NFL history.
Manning’s career started at the Univesity of Tennessee. While he started out as the Volunteers’ third-string quarterback, he had taken over the starting job by the end of freshman year; from there, he never looked back. Peyton finished his college career completing 863 passes for 11,201 yards and 89 touchdowns.
In the 1998 NFL draft, the Colts made Manning, not Ryan Leaf, the first overall pick. While his first year in Indianapolis wasn’t perfect—he threw 28 interceptions and went 3-13 as a starter—Peyton still showed plenty of potentials. Over the next decade, he would more than live up to the hype.
Manning, of course, developed into a football purist’s dream quarterback: he was big, stood tall in the pocket, threw lasers, and led his team to victory. During his time with the Colts, Peyton claimed four MVP awards and one Super Bowl title; he would claim another MVP and lift the Lombardi Trophy one more time with the Denver Broncos before calling it a career in 2016. Beyond those accomplishments, his 71,940 total passing yards and 539 touchdowns speak for themselves.
A famous rivalry with Tom Brady
For all of his statistical success, though, Peyton Manning never got a chance to rest on his laurels. Throughout his career, he found himself locked in a rivalry with Tom Brady.
While the two men had drastically different paths to the pros—Manning was a college star and the first-overall pick while Brady famously rose from sixth-round obscurity to become a star—they came to dominate the AFC. From 2003 through 2015, in fact, the two men combined to appear in 12 of 16 Super Bowls.
Whether you preferred Manning’s statistical dominance or felt Brady’s playoff performances gave him the edge, it’s impossible to argue with either quarterback’s place in the NFL pantheon. Some rivalries are fueled by hate; this one, however, was simply two elite competitors battling to be the best.
Peyton Manning scored a new financial victory over Tom Brady
Earlier this season, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods outdueled Tom Brady and Tiger Woods on the golf course. That wasn’t Manning’s only victory over his famous rival, though.
As reported by Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, Manning unseated Brady to claim the top spot in the NFLPA’s top group licensing earner’s list. The former Indianapolis Colt earned a reported $3,357,808 last year from those deals, while Brady sits in second place with $2,998,276.
What actually are group licensing deals, though? “The NFLPA report, hundreds of pages long, lists every player in the NFL and how much they earned from group licensing, which is when six or more players are used in the same deal. While there are some smaller group deals, most of the money comes in through the union from Electronic Arts, Nike, Fanatics, and Panini (trading cards), and then is distributed to the players,” Kaplan explained. “That means demand for Manning’s jersey, his avatar in video games, and his likeness on rectangular pieces of cardboard outstrip most if not all current players.”
While there’s still plenty of money unaccounted for—Manning’s Nationwide endorsement and ESPN compensation, for example, are individual deals, not group license—it still shows the power of Peyton Manning. And, beyond the financial rewards, he probably won’t mind stealing the top spot away from his famous rival.