Rivalries are what make sports so amusing to its viewers. A Duke basketball fan loves watching their Blue Devils take the basketball court against any opponent, but there is a unique excitement when they are facing off against their big rivals North Carolina. Likewise, fans of the Boston Red Sox genuinely enjoy watching their team play any opponent but when the New York Yankees come to town it is a whole different ball game — literally.
Usually these rivalries are violent and aggressive displays of hate and animosity towards the opponent. Both teams go into the game knowing that if only one could survive it had to be them. This is what fuels our interest in all sports; rivalries make the sporting world go around.
But every now and then there is a rivalry that goes against the grain. It isn’t directly about the animosity between two foes, but it is more about respect and honor. Rather than two enemies doing everything they can do eliminate their hated opponent they rather perform to the top of their ability while the other does the same, creating an interesting setting where for a bleak moment it is believed that there can be two winners. The only problem is it can’t stay that way.
That is the type of rivalry that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have and that is the type of rivalry that we are all going to be so fortunate to see this Sunday in the AFC Championship game.
This generation has been blessed to see arguably the two best quarterbacks of this era square off against each other 14 times. This Sunday will be the 15th time that these two future Hall of Famers meet up and the third time that they will do so in the AFC Championship game. This rivalry is a true testament to the debate on determining the best quarterback of all time. Both of these guys will have their name in that discussion when it is all over with, but that isn’t directly what I am referring to. Rather, this rivalry represents the types of discussions we have in determining who the best quarterback is of all time.
Do you make you decision based off of pure quarterback talent and choose Manning or do you make your decision based upon who has had more success and more championships and choose Brady?
That, at its very core, is what this rivalry is all about. Some will argue that Manning is the better quarterback of the two while Brady stands above him with three Super Bowls to Manning’s one and a 10-4 record in head-to-head matchups against Manning (as of now).
Would that be fair to Brady? This argument can go both ways — and trust me when I tell you that it has — leaving it totally up to the fans to let their voices be heard.
So who is to say? Will we ever be able to actually make a rational decision on who the better quarterback? I find that nearly impossible. The only thing that would make it easy is if Brady defeated Manning again this Sunday and won his fourth Super Bowl in two weeks, then there might be a case for Brady. But as it stands we seem to be in a standstill. The only thing that is certain is that we are all lucky to have another chance to watch Manning and Brady play against each other. And the fact that it is in the AFC Championship makes it even sweeter.
Tyler Rollason is a Winder-Barrow High School graduate and mass communications major at the University of West Georgia. He writes a weekly sports column for the Barrow Journal. You can e-mail comments about this column to