After Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl in February, the Buccaneers quarterback likely received quite a few congratulatory text messages. However, only one of those messages came from someone who's out-dueled Brady twice in the Super Bowl and that someone is Eli Manning.
"Yeah, I sent Tom a text, just congratulating him and really just saying how not surprised, but impressed with what he was able to do this year with Tampa," Manning said. "Changing teams, shortened season, lock out and pandemic and everything going on and to still learn a brand new offense and make those adjustments and go win a championship is pretty spectacular."
The former Giants quarterback wanted Brady to know how impressive it was that he was able to add another Lombardi Trophy to his collection. Thanks to the win, Brady became the first starting quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl in both the AFC and NFC, and he also became just the second starting quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl with multiple teams, joining Eli's brother, Peyton Manning.
"I've known Tom a long time and I just wanted him to know that I was impressed, along with a lot of other people," Manning said.
One thing that really impressed Eli was that Brady was able to adjust to a new team after spending the first 20 years of his career in New England. Part of the reason Manning decided to retire is because he didn't want to learn a new system after spending his entire 16-year career in New York.
"One of the reasons I did retire is that I didn't want to make that change, I didn't want to have to move my family, start all over, go to a different organization that maybe does things different than what you've been doing your entire career," Manning said. "Almost 20 years, you've been doing something one way, what if it's different? What if you can't make those adjustments or coaches want you to do things that you're not used to doing? There's so many what ifs."
Instead of signing with a new team, Manning decided to call it quits in January 2020. On the other hand, Brady went the opposite route: He left the only football team he had ever played for to sign with the Buccaneers.
"Obviously, he was able to go there, implement some of the things that he's had success with, but also make those changes and learn, grow as a player, as a teammate," Manning said. "Just a lot of respect for Tom, and not just this year, but his entire career."
If not for Eli Manning, there's a chance that Brady would have nine Super Bowl rings right now, but Manning and the Giants were able to upset Brady's Patriots twice. Of course, at the rate he's going, Brady might eventually win nine Super Bowls, but none of those wins will have come against Eli.