New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has not spoken publicly of any gut feeling regarding his rivalry with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. But one of Brady’s private emails speaks volumes about Brady’s desire to be regarded as the better quarterback.
Because the NFL Players Association refiled an amended lawsuit against the NFL’s suspension of Brady for Deflategate, many of Brady’s private emails have been made public. In one email, Brady responded to his friend Jay Flannelly, who mentioned an October 31 article by Bill Simmons written two days before the quarterbacks would meet on the field. Simmons compared the two quarterbacks and rated Manning over Brady, noting that the rivalry was in the “later rounds” of the players’ careers.
Brady wrote Flannelly on November 1, “Thanks popa. I’ve got another 7 or 8 years. He has 2. That’s the final chapter. Game on.”
Days before the email to Flannelly, Brady stated publicly, “Probably five, six years ago you don’t think about those things. But you’re right, as you mature a little bit and realize this could always be the last one, then you do. It’s pretty special. He’s been one of the greatest players to ever play. I’ve been fortunate to share a field with one of the best players that ever has played the game. Every time we play a Peyton Manning-led team it comes down to the wire. Everything’s usually at stake.”
Brady and Manning have met 16 times on the field, with Brady holding an 11-5 edge, but they have split four playoff games, with Manning winning two of three AFC Championship games.
Another email reveals Brady’s disgust with ESPN commentator Mark Brunell, who said after Brady’s explanation of Deflategate in January, “I just didn’t believe what Tom Brady had to say.” Brady wrote, “He’s a patriot hater. They all are!!!!”
A third email showed Brady’s humanitarian side. Emailing his friend Francesco Aquilini, the owner of the Vancouver Canucks, Brady, who had spoken to the Canucks about sports science, nutrition, and body management at Aquilini’s request, asked Aquilini if he could give funds to a new foundation Brady has created to help young athletes who can’t afford treatment. Brady wrote, “I would only ask that after our meeting, if you feel like we have helped you and your team, that you would make a donation to our foundation to treat those young athletes who can’t quite afford it.”