When Tom Brady announced his “retirement” in January, the sports media world seemed split on whether he was really done with football. Since the announcement, Brady’s already said retirement. Now there’s a rumor of a potential trade out of Tampa Bay.
Those who bought into the Brady retirement are now feeling duped, and one particular peer is voicing his displeasure. Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning (and Brady’s biggest rival) sent gifts upon hearing the news about Brady’s stepping away from the NFL. Manning sent a bottle of wine (probably not a bottle of Trader Joe’s wine either) and a letter to Brady welcoming him to the retired QBs club. Now Manning wants his parting gifts back.
“I want the letter back,” Manning said. “You got to read all these nice things. I want it back. I want the bottle of wine back, too.”
Think about the rivalry between Brady and Manning that lasted over a decade. Overall, Brady was 11-6 against Manning-led teams during their runs of dominance over the AFC. If not for Brady, Manning would probably have at least one more Super Bowl appearance on his resume and possibly a third ring. With all of Manning’s incredible regular season stats and accomplishments, Brady is considered the GOAT because seven rings hold a lot of weight.
With his dry sense of humor and quick wit, Manning was most certainly joking about wanting his gifts back from Brady. But I’d imagine a small part of him felt some kind of way about Brady changing his mind so soon. It’s like going all out on a wedding gift for someone, only to find out they’ve split up weeks later.
“That’s something I’ve always believed in. A text for a 22-year career like Tom Brady’s just doesn’t quite do it justice,” Manning said. “So, he was a chance to just sit down and put pen to paper and talk about some of the different things he and I have experienced together – on the field and off the field – and just congratulate him for doing it the right way, doing it at the highest level, and doing it for such a long time. It’s simply awesome.”
The monetary cost is nothing to Manning, but that letter was more than just, “Hey, you’re retired, congratulations.” That message can be sent in a text, email, or Twitter DM. Opening up for men of a certain age isn’t the easiest thing to do. And nobody sits down and writes letters anymore. Well, except Peyton, apparently. It sounds like quite a bit of thought went into this letter for Brady. As he mentioned, we’re talking about a career that has stretched over two decades.
So, once Brady actually does retire, I wonder what Manning will do? Most people, including Manning, will probably be somewhat hesitant following the first retirement. Maybe we should all wait a few months and let him think it over. This is why the HOF makes players wait a few years, no matter how much of a lock they are to make it. Brady is the surest first-ballot HOFer since Manning. At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if Brady played another two or three years. He just can’t seem to get football out of his system.