When Tom Brady decided to return to the Tampa Bay Bucaneers for another NFL season — after realizing the pain of sitting at home on Super Bowl Sunday — plenty of people surely saw it as fantastic news. Bucs fans saw their lives flash before their eyes, and Gisele Bündchen celebrated. Lovers of the game relished the opportunity to see the GOAT one more time, and many on Twitter had jokes that were as celebratory as they were trolling. (Brady is no stranger to trolls, let's be honest.) However, others weren’t so thrilled with Brady's quick backtracking, and I’m not just talking about everyone else in the NFC South. Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning offered a pretty salty response with tongue planted firmly in cheek, and it’s absolute gold.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, after all, factor into one of sports’ greatest rivalries. The quarterbacks were constantly compared to and measured against each other on the field, but off of it, there was seemingly nothing but respect. That’s what made it hilarious when the former Denver Broncos leader revealed the gifts he’d given Brady upon his retirement — and then said he wanted them back! At a recent event hosted by The MINT Collective, Manning spoke about the “long,” two-page personal letter he’d penned to No. 12:
The audience laughed loudly at Peyton Manning’s wonderfully petty statement, but let’s be real, the man isn’t wrong. If he filled up two hand-written pages with kind words, memories, praise for over two decades of athletic achievement — or even just two paragraphs — Manning did not intend for those things to be read, oh, in some random spot in the middle of Tom Brady’s career.
I mean, you don’t tell deathbed secrets until somebody’s on their way out, right? This is the same principle. Peyton Manning’s feelings were being revealed to a former NFL quarterback, not current. It would be like getting elected president, learning all the big secrets and alien conspiracy plots and then packing up your bags to return home. It’s packing up the wedding gifts before leaving your betrothed at the altar! Check out Manning’s quip below:
Peyton Manning said that, when Tom Brady retired, he sent him a handwritten note and a bottle of wine. Now, he jokes, he wants the letter and the wine back.@1MINTCollective pic.twitter.com/0omJtNjDLeMarch 26, 2022
Like I said before, though, it’s all respect between the quarterbacks — at least since Peyton Manning hung it up in 2016. While their respective teams never competed in the same division, they met up four times in the AFC Championship game (with Manning winning three of those times). But Tom Brady owns the bragging rights in overall head-to-head competition, having won 11 out of 17.
Tom Brady also has more Super Bowl rings than Peyton Manning (or any other NFL player ever) with seven; Manning has two. However, of Brady’s three Super Bowl losses, two of them came at the hands of Peyton’s little brother, Eli Manning, and the New York Giants. So maybe Brady will hold onto that wine a little longer.
While we wait for Tom Brady’s return to Tampa Bay this fall, fans can also anticipate his titular role in the upcoming comedy 80 for Brady. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV schedule as well, to see what new and returning shows are premiering soon.
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Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.