Peyton Manning's reaction to Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots and joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL free agency was similar to many fans throughout the Boston area: one of surprise.
Manning and Brady played against each other 17 times, including five playoff matchups, as part of a legendary rivalry. All of their games featured Brady playing for the Patriots and Manning playing for either the Indianapolis Colts or Denver Broncos. These teams consistently were the class of the AFC. Now, Brady is headed to the NFC for the first time, and it's going to be a little weird to see that next season. Manning talked about this scenario during an appearance Sunday on ESPN's "SportsCenter".
"Well, that was interesting," Manning said. "I've talked to Tom at different times, but never really about that actual decision. He seems happy, he seems excited. I'm a little surprised he jumped over to the NFC. I always see Tom Brady as an AFC guy, so he's going to have to go through initiation to learn the ropes of the NFC."
Manning knows a little bit about the challenge Brady will face with the Bucs because he also left for a new team late in his career.
Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis
Brady departed the New England Patriots in free agency last month after winning six Super Bowl championships in 20 seasons with the franchise. He joined the Buccaneers on a two-year contract, and he'll try to join Manning as the only other starting quarterback in league history to win a Super Bowl with two different teams.
Manning left the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 after spending the first 13 seasons of his career and winning a Super Bowl with the AFC South team. He signed with the Broncos in free agency and played four seasons with them. Manning went to two Super Bowls with the Broncos and beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 in his final season.
Oddsmakers are confident in Brady's and the Bucs' chances of winning the Super Bowl next season. Tampa Bay currently has the fifth-best odds to claim the Lombardi Trophy in 2020 at the DraftKings Sportsbook.