As a Denver native, I bleed orange and blue. Seventeen years ago, when my oldest child came into the world, at a hospital in the middle of Denver, I introduced her to John Elway (the greatest quarterback of all-time). Of course the introduction was only virtual. We watched the story of the Broncos’ first world championship. As I held my first born in my arms, I whispered to her (as she slept peacefully) that the Broncos were finally champions and she was a very lucky girl to be born into Broncos’ nation.
I hoped, even though Elway retired, that my children could witness a live Super Bowl victory… but my hopes seemed to be in vain.
Denver spiraled downward in the post-Elwat era. 2004 and 2005 were one of the most humiliating years for Broncos fans in the playoffs. Peyton Manning was shredding most teams with his arm – including the Broncos. As I watched him hang 41 points on the Broncos one year (2004) and 49 the next (2005)… I loathed the site of number 18 and the horse shoe on his helmet.
And then… Manning miraculously became one of the good guys by suiting up for the Orange and Blue and leading us to a Super Bowl 50 victory. My kids did not wait a life time to witness a Bronco championship. And, they saw the work of the second greatest quarterback work his magic in a Blue and Orange helmet.
As a Bronco, Manning drug Broncos’ nation into one of the greatest rivalries of the NFL: Brady vs. Manning. Tom Brady was not the focus of the average Broncos fans’ hatred. We saved our deepest feelings of hate for the Raiders. But now… we had a new team and opposing quarterback to hold in contempt.
Gary Myers portrays the scope of the Brady/Manning rivalry in small vignettes. The book is a fascinating peek into the world of what makes Manning and Brady tick. Although I am a converted Manning fan, I was more impressed with the back story of Brady’s journey to the NFL. You’ll have to read the details in the book, but if anyone would NOT have made it to the NFL (especially to the heights he has risen) it would be Brady. Manning faced the pressure of expectations set unreasonably high, and Brady faced the weight of people who doubted him.
Maybe my interest in this book is tied closely to my love for the Broncos. After all, Myers chronicles their journey to Super Bowl 50. It was exciting to relive that moment as a Bronco junkie. However, I think most sports’ fans will like this one because it clearly demonstrates two very different approaches of two all-time greats. I came away with an appreciation of their authenticity. In other words, they were the best version of themselves, and that is what makes anyone become their best.
If you like football, and have even a remote connection to the teams Manning and Brady suit up for on Sundays, get a copy of this book.