It looks like Peyton Manning probably won his final meeting against Bill Belichick’s defense on Sunday, considering it seems highly unlikely Manning will return for another season (much less make another Super Bowl). That means it’s the end of an era. No more Brady-Manning matchups and no more awkward hugs at midfield for Belichick and company.
But Sunday’s hug between Belichick and Manning was anything but awkward. After thousands of hours of preparation in the NFL, there’s no doubt the two have nothing but respect for each other. That became evident after the game when Manning confessed to Belichick it was probably his “last rodeo.”
— Obsev Sports (@ObsevSports) January 26, 2016
Including the playoffs, Manning has gone 7-11 against Belichick, but he’s won his last three AFC title games against the Patriots.
Early in his career, Manning had a great deal of difficulty against New England’s 3-4 defense, often throwing multiple interceptions each game and getting bounced from the playoffs twice during his time with the Colts. But since then he’s matured, the 3-4 has become more common in the NFL and Peyton has found ways to beat his biggest rival. Despite not having the greatest game of his career (not even close), Manning couldn’t have closed his final chapter against the Patriots any better than he did on Sunday.
But just because Manning will no longer meet with Belichick on the football field, it doesn’t mean they won’t see each other on the golf course.
“Hey Peyton. Ever consider a coaching job in Foxborough?” – Bill Belichick