Larry Fitzgerald is one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history, and on Sunday the Arizona Cardinals star will play the New England Patriots for just the fifth time in his Hall of Fame-caliber career.
The Cardinals will soon travel to Gillette Stadium for a Week 12 matchup that's very important for both teams. The Patriots are desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the Cardinals are trying to keep pace in a very competitive NFC West title race.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a ton of respect for Fitzgerald, and on Wednesday he made an interesting comparison between the veteran wideout and legendary quarterback Peyton Manning.
"Yeah, well I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Larry. Larry’s a very dedicated football player," Belichick said during a video press conference. "He works extremely hard. He’s very knowledgeable in all phases of the game, but particularly the passing game and techniques, training, fundamentals. He’s, I would say, to receivers what Peyton Manning was to quarterbacks in terms of that type of total obsession of knowing everything about the position and how to do things and how to convey those to his teammates.
"He’s had tremendous production. I mean, other than Jerry Rice, those two guys are really at the top of the production list in just about every area. His longevity has been remarkable. Again, I think that’s a testament to his physical training, but he has great awareness and instincts as well as all the other things that go with being a receiver. He has tremendous hands, concentration, ability to make clutch plays and really match up against most every type of defender. He finds a way to win with the skills that he has and his style of play.
"He’s a tremendous player and he’s had a tremendous career. I don’t know how you could do much more than what he’s done for the amount of time that he’s done it in. He’s had tremendous durability and production."
It's not a bad comparison at all.
Both Fitzgerald and Manning are two of the greatest players ever at their respective positions, and they have made teammates around them better in so many different ways.
Fitzgerald has tallied 17 receptions for 222 yards with three touchdowns in four games against the Patriots during his 17-year career. The Cardinals are 1-3 in those matchups, but they will enter Sunday's game as 2.5-point favorites.