Like other forms of entertainment, sports are at its most enjoyable when there's some sort of rivalry at play. A matchup between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox or Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles still sells even when the teams are down.
The NFL is different than most sports when it applies to the players themselves. In a way, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady never directly faced each other because both were quarterbacks. Manning wasn't trying to beat Brady on an out route so he could throw a touchdown to Marvin Harrison or Dallas Clark. It's not like the NBA, where James Harden and Stephen Curry actually match up against one another on the hardwood.
The Brady-Manning rivalry will nonetheless be remembered as one of the most memorable in NFL history. The league wisely put games between these two on national television and hyped them up throughout the week, even when Manning was an aging quarterback near the end of his career. Brady-Manning was the yearly heavyweight bout for a generation — and sometimes, we saw it multiple times a season.
Here are 20 surprising facts on two of the best quarterbacks ever to step on the gridiron.
20 Peyton Manning spoke Gaelic to confuse opponents
Yelling "Omaha!" and all sorts of football terms were a given with Manning at the line of scrimmage, but what was that secret language microphones sometimes picked up? It actually turned out to be Gaelic, a language native to Scotland. Even if there was one defender who understood just what Manning was saying in Gaelic, they probably weren't stopping him, anyway.
19 Tom Brady hates being called the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All-Time)
Brady has made a brand for himself with a 'love to hate me' attitude, but he's always respected the history of football. It makes sense that Brady, who grew up a San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana fan, would never openly say he's a better quarterback than Montana. But even the fiercest Montana defenders could change their mind if Brady wins an unprecedented seventh Super Bowl ring before retiring.
18 Peyton Manning only needed three years to graduate college
Manning's on-field smarts were evident in the classroom, too. Manning put the student in student-athlete by only needing three years to complete his Bachelor of Arts in speech communication. Though he could have declared for the 1997 NFL Draft, Manning returned for his senior year and took graduate classes.
Had Manning left school early, he almost certainly would have been drafted by the New York Jets rather than the Colts. That decision paid off.
17 Tom Brady has three career punts
Teams at the high school and college level will often bring out the quarterback pooch-punt on fourth down to trick defenses and pin the opposing offense deep in their own territory. Brady pulled this off to perfection with a 36-yard punt against Miami in 2003 that pinned the Dolphins at the 1-yard line.
The future Hall of Famer also had a 48-yard punt against Denver in the 2012 NFL playoffs — on third down, no less — and a 23-yarder against Buffalo in 2013.
16 Peyton Manning's nickname is 'Petey Pie'
NFL fans are used to calling Manning "The Sheriff," a nickname bestowed upon him by Oakland Raiders coach and former ESPN analyst Jon Gruden. But Manning's lesser-known nickname, one created by his mother, Olivia, is Petey-Pie. Moms know best, right?
Petey-Pie is certainly a unique name and, clearly, it didn't stop Manning from enjoying a Hall of Fame career.
15 Tom Brady ranks sixth in rushing touchdowns among players from the 2000 NFL Draft
Brady's been a starting quarterback for nearly 20 years, so this makes sense. Former NFL MVP Shaun Alexander leads the pack with 100, followed by Thomas Jones' 68 and Jamal Lewis' 58. Mike Anderson has 37, ex-Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne ended his career with 28 and Brady's former teammate, Sammy Morris, recorded 26. Can Brady pass Morris?
14 Peyton Manning originally wanted to wear No. 18 in college
The No. 18 became synonymous with Manning throughout his NFL career. Manning actually wanted to wear No. 18 in college at Tennessee, too, to honor his father, Archie, who wore the number at Ole Miss, and his brother Cooper, who also wore No. 18 as a standout wide receiver in high school.
Manning wore No. 16 at Tennessee because No. 18 was unavailable. When the Colts prepared a jersey with that number before drafting Manning, he instead requested No. 18.
13 Tom Brady is related to another Boston sports hero
Brady's sister, Julie, married former Red Sox All-Star Kevin Youkilis (far left in the photo) in April 2012. Youkilis hit .287 with 133 home runs and 564 RBI with the Red Sox from 2004-12. Nicknamed the "Greek God of Walks" for his plate discipline, Youkilis hit .306 in 29 playoff games and won two World Series rings.
12 Peyton Manning's wife is an NBA owner
Ashley Manning is a Memphis Grizzlies minority owner. She may not be the one running the shots and trying to lead the Grizzlies into a new era, but Ashley still owns a stake in the team. Look for Peyton to one day join her in the ownership ranks, except in the NFL rather than the NBA.
11 Tom Brady was only 11-9 as a high school quarterback
There are plenty of high school quarterbacks that lead their teams to state titles or undefeated records and are average at best. Brady's win-loss record wasn't spectacular and look how he turned out. It's almost like people should have expected more from Brady even when the counting numbers aren't always elite.
10 Peyton Manning became the second quarterback in NFL history to beat all 32 teams
First up was Brett Favre, who accomplished the feat in 2009 when the ex-Packers star beat his former team in a Minnesota Vikings uniform. Manning joined the ranks in 2014 as a member of the Denver Broncos. Manning threw three touchdowns in a 31-24 victory over his former team, who earned revenge in that year's postseason.
Manning's most wins came against the Houston Texans. Only time will tell if Brady becomes the fourth quarterback to do so, following Favre, Manning and Drew Brees.
9 Tom Brady was drafted by the Montreal Expos
Maybe if Brady chose baseball over football, it'd be the Expos celebrating a World Series victory and not the Washington Nationals. Montreal selected Brady in the 18th round (507th pick overall) of the 1995 MLB Draft. Brady, of course, opted to play football at the University of Michigan and the rest is history.
8 Peyton Manning was investigated for a Title IX violation
A 2016 lawsuit accusing the University of Tennessee of mishandling reports of alleged sexual assaults by student-athletes cited a 1996 complaint against Manning. A female trainer accused Manning of disrespectful behavior while she treated him for an injury; the case was settled in 1997. Manning later wrote in a book what he did to offend the trainer was "inappropriate. Not exactly a criminal offense, but out of line."
7 Tom Brady has never had a sip of coffee
Brady has is a health enthusiast, but it's surprising he's never even once had coffee. Brady's strict diet is mostly organic and plant-based. It's kept him in peak shape and has him in a position to keep playing at a high level for years. Brady admitted he does occasionally slightly deviate from the diet to consume alcohol, though.
6 Peyton Manning threw 112 touchdowns to Marvin Harrison
This, to no surprise, is an NFL record between a quarterback and receiver. Harrison caught at least 10 touchdown passes every year from 1999-2006 and was a Pro Bowler every year. There was little stopping this duo in their prime. Reggie Wayne (67) and Dallas Clark (44) are the only other players to catch 40 touchdowns from Manning.
5 Tom Brady played himself in a 'Family Guy' episode
The 'Patriot Games' episode of Family Guy is most known for Stewie Griffin's various brawls with Brian, the talking dog. But the episode partially draws its name from Brady's guest appearance. Brady plays himself and recruits patriarch Peter to play center for the Patriots.
Peter scores a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys but is traded to a London-based team for showboating. And no, the London team was not the Jaguars.
4 Peyton Manning was named Sports Illustrated's best quarterback of the 2000s
This should have been an easy choice. Manning was 115-45 as a starter from 2000-09 with 42,254 passing yards, 314 touchdowns, and 138 interceptions during the regular season. Manning won a Super Bowl after the 2006 season and led the Colts to another Super Bowl appearance, a loss to the Saints, three years later. At least Brady is likely to get the honor for the 2010s.
3 Tom Brady has more Super Bowl rings alone than 18 franchises combined
This may not surprise too many older NFL fans. To put things in perspective, 12 NFL teams haven't won a Super Bowl as of November 2019. Eight teams have only won a single Super Bowl. Brady himself has six rings. Take the 12 ringless teams and the six teams that have one ring and that amounts to 12. Math is always going to stay fun.
2 Peyton Manning owned 31 different Papa John's restaurants
Manning has stayed in the news with his new ESPN show and his various Nationwide insurance commercials. But Manning was a mainstay in Papa John's commercials and owned over 30 of the chain restaurants at one point. Manning sold his stake in the locations in March 2018, just days before the NFL cut ties with Papa John's.
1 Tom Brady reportedly only wanted to live on the 12th floor of his apartment building
When you've won six Super Bowls, you deserve certain privileges and amenities. Brady reportedly spent $12 million in August 2016 for the contract rights to an apartment based in New York. That apartment was supposed to be on the 11th floor, but Brady changed his mind after Super Bowl LII in February 2017 and requested the 12th floor in honor of his number.