Peyton Manning

Will Patriots suffer similar fate as Broncos have post-Peyton Manning?

Will Patriots suffer similar fate as Broncos have post-Peyton Manning?

Editor’s note: In the coming weeks our Patriots insiders will be speaking with beat writers from around the NFL to get an outside view on what the future holds for the Patriots. Today’s team: The Denver Broncos with Ryan O'Halloran of the Denver Post.

The Denver Broncos took a chance on an aging Peyton Manning before the 2012 season and it paid huge dividends.

Manning played the final four seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Broncos, and Denver made the playoffs each year, highlighted by two Super Bowl appearances.

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The legendary quarterback retired after winning Super Bowl 50 during the 2015 season, and the Broncos have yet to fully recover. Denver has failed to reach the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, and oddsmakers don't expect the Broncos to end that postseason appearance drought in 2020.

The New England Patriots soon could be in a similar situation.

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady recently left the Patriots in free agency after playing the first 20 years of his career and winning six Super Bowl titles with the franchise. Like the Broncos after Manning's exit, the Patriots likely will turn to a young quarterback to lead the offense.

Will the Patriots suffer the same fate as the Broncos have post-Manning and struggle to make the playoffs?

"Maybe there's that initial little backtrack, which is understandable," O'Halloran told our Patriots insider Phil Perry. "But I think the Patriots are probably constructed better than the Broncos at that point with the continuity of Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, and Jarrett Stidham at least having been there for a year, if he ends up being the starter, or Brian Hoyer being a veteran.

"The Broncos, I think the real thing for them was Gary Kubiak retired a year after Manning retired, for health reasons, and that started a cycle they're still trying to get out of, having missed the playoffs four straight years."

The quarterback of the present, and potentially the future, for the Broncos is Drew Lock. He had a very good finish to his rookie season in 2019, and after the Broncos drafted two of the best wide receivers in the 2020 class in Alabama's Jerry Jeudy and Penn State's KJ Hamler, expectations for Denver's offense are high entering 2020.

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"(Lock) deserves to be the guy, and he is the guy, for this year," O'Halloran said. "All bets are off, I think, because it's a second-round contract. If he struggles, then you go back to the drawing board. He went 4-1 as a starter down the stretch last season, granted it was the equivalent of NFL garbage time, but he showed mobility, he showed a willingness to throw into traffic, and throw guys open and make plays on the run.

"I think what you saw, especially, was guys rallied around him, saying, hey, this could be their quarterback for the next couple years, and definitely in 2020. So, I think he gave a lot of reason for optimism, while also saying, OK, he has to learn a new offense from (offensive coordinator) Pat Shurmur, he has a new quarterbacks coach in Mike Shula, and a lot of new players he has to learn without the benefit of an offseason program."

Lock will get an early challenge from the Patriots defense in 2020. Denver is scheduled to visit Gillette Stadium in Week 5. Fortunately for the Broncos, they play on "Thursday Night Football" in Week 4, so they'll have a few extra days to prepare for their matchup with the Patriots.

Tom Brady recaps 'The Match' with jokes about concussions, ripped pants

Tom Brady recaps 'The Match' with jokes about concussions, ripped pants

There's a good chance Tom Brady had a more eventful Sunday than you.

With much of America hunkered down to ride out the coronavirus pandemic, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback joined Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods on a Florida golf course to play in "The Match," a rain-soaked golf round for charity.

Brady had an up-and-down day: He sunk an incredible shot for birdie and helped raise millions of dollars for COVID-19 relief but also ripped his pants and otherwise played some pretty poor golf as he and Mickelson lost to Manning and Woods.

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So, what did Brady take away from the whole thing? The ex-New England Patriots QB shared some lessons learned Wednesday on Instagram:

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I learned a few lessons from this past weekend’s golf tournament with @philmickelson @tigerwoods and #Peyton...I had a lot of fun and grateful to be part of an event that raised a lot of money for Covid relief: 1. Amazing what happens when groups of people come together for the common good. 2. Peyton is still as clutch as ever. 💯 3. I did not escape the inclement weather...heavy stuff...ALL DAY. 4. I shouldn’t wear the same pants to golf that I wear to church. 🤬 5. As great as @philmickelson is as a golfer, he is a better man, coach and teammate and potentially has the best calves on the PGA Tour. 6. I really enjoy golf...at halftime of football games we get checked for concussions, in golf, you get refreshments. 7. It was nice to be the young guy again. 👍🏼 8. @tigerwoods was a great host and champion, and I was especially thankful he missed that putt on the 7th hole...had he made it, I would have just went home. 😂 9. I’m sticking to my day job 🏈

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Brady begrudgingly showed Manning some respect after the ex-Colts and Broncos QB made some key shots late in "The Match" and made the obligatory joke about his wardrobe malfunction.

Brady also made a passing reference to concussions -- "I really enjoy golf...at halftime of football games we get checked for concussions, in golf, you get refreshments" -- which is notable considering he recently admitted he's "definitely had concussions" during his 20-year NFL career.

Brady is still going strong entering his age-43 season, though, and added as his last lesson that he's "sticking to my day job."

So, expect TB12 to get back out on the practice field with his Bucs teammates after his brief foray onto the links.

The Tom Brady bump: 'The Match' makes history with huge TV ratings

The Tom Brady bump: 'The Match' makes history with huge TV ratings

Tom Brady has edged Michael Jordan, it appears.

Sunday's "The Match: Champions for Charity" golf match pitting Brady and Phil Mickelson against Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods averaged 5.8 million TV viewers across TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN, according to Turner Sports.

Here's the context behind that number: It makes Sunday's event the most-watched golf telecast in cable television history and the highest-rated program on TV that day.

Remarkably, "The Match" also drew more average viewers than ESPN's "The Last Dance," the 10-part documentary series on Jordan and the Chicago Bulls that averaged 5.65 million same-day viewers per episode.

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For further context: Game 4 of the 2019 World Series averaged 10.2 million TV viewers, less than double the ratings for a charity golf match.

Such is the current sports media landscape with all North American professional sports on hold, though. While "The Last Dance" dug up the past, "The Match" was an actual sporting event featuring four of the biggest names in sports.

Brady obviously was a big draw, as this was one of the quarterback's first public appearances since leaving the New England Patriots to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.

TB12 didn't exactly light it up on the course -- he and Mickelson lost to Woods and Manning -- but still created plenty of buzz by sinking a miracle shot for birdie, ripping his pants on the course and trading barbs with Manning.

Until sports return in 2020, expect events like these to capture America's full attention.