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Gridiron Breakdown: Brady vs. Manning

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This Sunday's AFC Championship Game has received the obligatory label of Brady-Manning XVII. Translation: These guys have played each other a lot. An annual meeting between these two Hall of Fame bound quarterbacks is about as guaranteed as another "Fast and the Furious" film. Personally, I stopped watching those after "Tokyo Drift" because, let's face it, there's no way you can catch lightning in a bottle twice.

So, as we build up to Sunday's showdown we will once again be inundated with tales of grandeur, immortalizing these two quarterbacks and the iconic rivalry that's mesmerized the football world for the better part of a decade. But there's more to these two legends than just what we see on the field. They've become iconic pop culture figures in their own right. Let's take a look at the gridiron breakdown both on and off the field between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and see who comes out victorious.

Let Brady-Manning XVII commence!

Category Brady
Manning Give it to ...
Seasons played: 16 18 Manning wins on seniority alone. He's accumulated more regular season records than Brady, who will likely always trail Manning in major statistical categories. But, when it comes to championships...
Championships won: 4 1 Brady. This one's a no-brainer. The guy has four championship rings and has played in six Super Bowls to Manning's three. Plus, none of Brady's Super Bowl wins came against a Rex Grossman-led team (and yes, Jake Delhomme was easily better than Grossman).
SNL appearances: 1 1 Manning takes the prize as the better SNL host, simply because of this United Way digital short. To this day, it still cracks me up whenever I watch it.
Better endorsements:

Movado, Under Armour and Ugg

Papa John's, DirecTV, Buick and Nationwide

Advantage Manning. Sure, Brady's deals seem like the sexier ones, but Manning is such a natural actor he could literally sell water to a fish. His comedic timing is on point, and, he's a solid rapper.
Better coach: Bill Belichick Gary Kubiak He may look like Emperor Palpatine, but Bill Belichick has proven he's got the best football IQ of any coach in the league. Brady has flourished under his system since he came into the league, and together they've been a more formidable duo than Palpatine-Vader.
Best dancer: Tom Brady dancing at Super Bowl ring party Manning dancing at practice to "Rocky Top" This really should be a draw, but I'm giving the award to Manning. He goes all out with his dance moves, moving like a crazy uncle at a wedding. Brady is just plain awkward, like that guy at a club who tries to come up and dance with your group. Creepy.
Better movie cameo: Ted 2 N/A Brady's brief appearance in "Ted 2" offered a few good laughs (unlike the rest of the film). He takes the award here. It's kind of shocking that Manning has never made a movie cameo. With the advancements in IMAX technology I'm sure his head would fit on the screen.
Best dressed:

Manning definitely gets points for his stylish suits, but Brady is the winner here. He's the GQ cover boy of the NFL. No matter what Brady wears to his postgame pressers, he always seems ready for a walkoff against Derek Zoolander.
Best sidekick ever: Rob Gronkowski Marvin Harrison Who wouldn't want a sidekick that can not only catch passes in the clutch, but also has their own party bus? Gronk is the frat boy Robin to Brady's Batman. Plus, I don't think I ever heard Marvin Harrison speak once during his career.


 

After taking an early lead, Brady comes back to take the title from Manning as the best quarterback both on and off the field. Despite Brady's victory in this contest, Sunday's matchup in Denver will surely be a war of attrition between the Patriots and the Broncos. Regardless of who wins Brady-Manning XVII, the ramifications from that game will likely be felt for years to come.

Colin J. Liotta is a Digital Features Editor and Writer for NFL.com. If he were a Hogwarts student he would be in Ravenclaw. You can follow him on Twitter @TheSportsHero.