Set to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later tonight, Peyton Manning has clearly earned the respect of many from around the football world — including all-time great head coach Bill Belichick.
Through 15 NFL seasons as intense head coach/quarterback adversaries, Belichick and Manning had plenty of incredible battles. And over the weekend, the longtime New England coach gave credit where it’s due.
Citing his unique ability to adjust to defenses on the fly, Belichick named Manning the “best quarterback” he’s ever coached against.
“He is definitely the best quarterback I’ve coached against,” the 26-year head coach said, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. “There have been quarterbacks who called their own plays, but it was nowhere near the same as what he did. He basically called every play by adjusting and/or changing the play once he saw what the defense was doing. He excelled at using the cadence and recognizing blitzes, and more than any one single offensive player, he forced us to change and adapt defensive game plans.”
Belichick and Manning’s career head-to-head record is 7-8 in favor of the Colts/Broncos QB.
Belichick’s answer for “best quarterback” he’s coached against could very well change later this year. Set to face off for the first time since he left New England in 2020, the Patriots coach will take on his seven-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady in a Week 4 matchup against the Buccaneers in 2021.
Alongside Manning’s old quarterback coach Bruce Arians, Brady will be in Canton tonight celebrating the Hall of Fame induction.
In reference to “old rivals” like Belichick and Brady attending tonight’s event, Manning explained how it “means a lot” that they’re showing up to show their respect.
"Tom Brady is coming in, sitting in my section – I’m not sure how my Colts teammates will handle that."
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) August 6, 2021
“People that have been a part of my football journey, for them to take the time to fly here to Canton to be here for this ceremony really means a lot,” he said. “I look forward to celebrating with them.”