Tom Brady called Eli Manning’s benching “a pretty unfortunate situation” and paid tribute to the only quarterback who has beaten the Patriots’ future Hall of Famer in the Super Bowl.
“I have nothing but the most respect for [Manning] and everything he’s achieved in his career,” Brady told Westwood One’s Jim Gray during a radio interview to be aired during Thursday night’s Cowboys-Redskins game at AT&T Stadium. “Obviously, being on the other side of two of those Super Bowl losses to an Eli Manning-led team, I just have so much respect for his dependability, for his consistency, for his toughness. You know that’s really everything you want in an NFL player, and I think Eli has always provided that for the team. So I think it’s a pretty unfortunate situation.”
Manning beat Brady’s Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI and was named MVP in both games. Manning, 36, has been replaced by Geno Smith, who was named the starter after Manning chose not to go along with a plan that would have had him start Sunday’s game against the Raiders and then come out at halftime. Manning leads active NFL quarterbacks with 210 consecutive starts, second among all quarterbacks only to Brett Favre.
While Brady called Manning’s situation unfortunate, he acknowledged this kind of scenario is nothing new in the NFL.
“I think there’s always these types of situations,” he said. “As a fan growing up, I mean to see Joe Montana playing in another uniform and again to see Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott, guys that I really looked up to and admired, there’s not many happy endings in sports and you know that’s just the way it is. You always wish for everything to go, you know, like a fairy tale, but it doesn’t. Michael Jordan played for, you know, the Washington Wizards. I mean who would have ever believed that? And that’s just pro sports.”