Tom Brady

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning praise each other after careerlong rivalry

With Tom Brady being enshrined in the New England Patriots Hall of Fame, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning joined him to look back on their shared legacy on and off the football field

China Wong/Getty Images

In the history of football, few names have been as intertwined as those of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

The rivalry between Brady's Patriots and Manning's Indianapolis Colts was must-see football. It carried on when Manning moved on to the Denver Broncos.

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The two superstar quarterbacks shared a stage Wednesday at the ceremony enshrining Brady into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

NBC's Mike Tirico, who hosted the ceremony, introduced Manning as a surprise guest after a series of recorded messages from longtime opponents.

"There was one person not in that video who said he refused to talk about Tom Brady again on camera," he said.

Both quarterbacks praised each other's talent, work ethic and friendship.

"You knew when you were playing against a Tom Brady team, you better be at your best, cause if you weren't, Tom Brady was going to beat you every time," Manning said.

"I think that I could never have been the type of player that I was without having someone like Peyton that I had to aspire to be like. And I looked at him as the gold standard for quarterback play, and I still do," added Brady. "There's nobody like Peyton Manning out there right now."

Scenes from Tom Brady's Patriots Hall of Fame induction

The circumstances of their early careers couldn't have been more different -- Manning was drafted first overall in 1998 while 198 players were selected before Brady in 2000. But Brady's first career start in 2001 -- against Manning and the Colts -- set off one of the sport's greatest rivalries.

The two greats went head-to-head in 12 regular season games, with Brady winning nine. They also faced off five times in the playoffs, with Manning victorious in three.

Manning joked that for all the bitterness he took from Patriots fans through his career, his brother, Eli Manning — who beat the Patriots in two Super Bowls — is more loathed in New England.

"Coming up here to Foxborough, y'all were so nice to me all those years," Manning said. "I can't remember which one of you exactly, but you always seemed to know my mother's name, you talk about my mother, it was very personal, I really appreciated that. But they liked me here, Mike, because I always lost here, so I'm much more popular than Eli here, I promise you that."

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