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Your! Call: Will Brady or Manning leave the greater legacy?

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Mike Hetherington, TSN.ca Staff
1/17/2014 6:18:22 PM
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Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet for the 15th time in their careers on Sunday when the Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.

The Patriots are 10-4 with Brady at quarterback playing Manning-led teams.

The two quarterbacks have been the kings of the AFC since Brady entered in relief of Drew Bledsoe in the third game of the Patriots' 2001 season.

The two will likely go down as the top two quarterbacks of a generation but who will leave the NFL with a greater legacy, Brady or Manning?

Broncos receiver Wes Welker is one of just four men ever to catch an NFL pass from both Brady and Manning and the only one to catch more than four passes from both. Welker refused to compare the two at his press conference this week, saying, "It's like comparing Picasso and Michelangelo. It's hard to do."

The comparison of the two, seeing as they play the same position, in the same conference and in the same league may not be quite as difficult.

Manning's career downfalls have always come in the playoffs. With Manning under centre, the Colts exited the playoffs in their first game of the postseason seven times in 11 trips.

For his regular season achievements, Manning was named NFL MVP in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009. He is the only four-time MVP in NFL history.

Despite all of his successes with the Colts, Manning's legacy with the team is overshadowed by just one Super Bowl victory - against the Chicago Bears in 2006. Manning threw for 247 yards in the game with one touchdown and one interception. He was named Super Bowl MVP.

The Colts made it back to the Super Bowl three years later in 2009 against the New Orleans Saints. Manning threw for 333 yards in the game and one touchdown, however a crucial interception, down 24-17 late in the fourth quarter ended the Colts hopes for another Lombardi trophy.

Manning signed with the Denver Broncos in 2012 and once again put up strong regular season numbers - 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He was named comeback player of the year and MVP runner-up. However, after a 13-3 regular season record, the Broncos lost in their first playoff game to the Baltimore Ravens in double overtime.

In 2013, Manning came out impassioned and put up the best numbers of his careers, starting by tying an NFL record with seven touchdowns in a game in the Broncos season opener. Manning set NFL records in touchdowns (55) and yards (5477).

The Broncos won their first game of the playoffs against the San Diego Chargers and earned the right to host the AFC Championship game.

Brady started his career with great success, winning the Super Bowl three times in his first four seasons as a starting quarterback; twice being named Super Bowl MVP.

However, Brady hasn't been crowned NFL champion since.

In 2007, Brady had the best season of his career, throwing for a record 50 touchdowns passes while leading the Patriots to a perfect 16-0 record. Brady was named NFL MVP for his efforts.

As the team approached becoming the first team in NFL history to go 19-0, they met the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. The Patriots lost 17-14 to Giants and Peyton Manning's younger brother, Eli, was named Super Bowl MVP.

In 2011, New England reached the Super Bowl again and Brady was named the NFL MVP for the second time in his career. The Patriots once again played the Giants in the Super Bowl and once again lost.

This season, Brady led the Patriots into the playoffs for a fifth straight season and after a decisive victory over the Colts in the divisional round, Brady is one game away from reaching the sixth Super Bowl of his career. Something no quarterback has ever done.

Manning ranks above Brady in almost every career statistic.  Manning also has the edge in league MVP's 4-2, however, Brady's three Super Bowl trophies loom large over Peyton's lone victory over Rex Grossman's Chicago Bears.

There's little doubt that Brady and Manning will go down as two of the greatest passers in NFL history, but which quarterback will leave the NFL with the greater legacy, Manning or Brady? As always, it's your! Call.

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