Peyton Manning was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Sunday, August 8, 2021. Manning was presented by father Archie Manning.

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Peyton Manning: Patriots’ rivalry encouraged move to Broncos

The thought of not playing Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the postseason helped to encourage Peyton Manning to sign with the Denver Broncos before the 2012 season.

That’s what the Hall of Fame quarterback told host Bill Simmons on his podcast, The Ringer.

With the Indianapolis Colts deciding to transition to No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck after Manning missed the 2011 season with a neck injury, Manning had a number of suitors.

“I remember talking with the 49ers, talking with Seattle and talking to the Cardinals, and the whole recurring theme in my mind, I’m just an AFC guy,” Manning told Simmons. “I think I should stay in the AFC. You’d think it’d be, ‘Please get away from the Patriots, go play in the NFC.’ I don’t know, if you’re going to play in the Super Bowl, you’re going to have to go through New England, so might as well play them in the AFC championship every year.

“New England had a little role in my decision to go to Denver.”

In his four seasons with the Broncos, Manning defeated Brady and the Patriots in two AFC title games — 2013 and 2015. Denver went on to win the Super Bowl following the 2015 season, and Manning retired shortly after as a two-time Super Bowl champion.

Despite being longtime football rivals, Brady and Manning are friends off the field. Brady, the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, left training camp last month to be on hand when Manning was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

–Field Level Media

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