Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots

Tom Brady might be considered the GOAT, though he says there is another quarterback whom he considers as the NFL position's 'gold standard.' 

Brady gave that title to former longtime rival Peyton Manning, who was on hand for Brady's recent induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Manning was there to honor Brady, but the seven-time Super Bowl champion took a moment to pay homage to Manning and the impact he had on his career. 

"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," Brady said at his Patriots Hall of Fame ceremony held at Gillette Stadium. "And I looked at him as the gold standard for quarterback play, and I still do." 

Manning had taken the mantle from Brett Favre as the NFL's premier quarterback when Brady was beginning his legendary run as the Patriots' starting quarterback. In fact, Brady's first career victory in the NFL came against Manning's Colts. That game was the start of a historic rivalry between the era's top-two quarterbacks. 

"They liked me here ... because I always lost here," Manning joked during the ceremony while alluding to his lack of success in Foxborough that included losses in consecutive postseasons. "I'm much more popular than Eli [Manning] here, I promise you that. But no, absolutely, you knew when you were playing against a Tom Brady team, you better be at your best, because if you weren't, Tom Brady was going to beat you every time." 

In all, Brady won 11 of his 17 career matchups against Manning. Manning, however, went 3-2 against Brady-led teams in the playoffs that included a 3-1 record in AFC Championship games during his years with the Colts and Broncos. Combined, Manning and Brady won nine Super Bowls, 14 conference titles, eight league MVPs and six Super Bowl MVPs during their respective careers. 

While their rivalry was real, so too is the mutual respect that exists between Manning and Brady. Brady was one of Manning's guests when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021. Manning intends to return the favor when Brady receives his gold jacket and bronze bust some time in the near future. 

"I'm honored to be here tonight," Manning said at Brady's ceremony, "and I promise I'll be there in a couple years, when he is there in Canton as well."