Peyton Manning is getting hit pretty hard for his across the body throw that resulted in his Denver Broncos being one-and-done in the 2012 playoffs. However while Manning deserves the blame for the Brett Favre-esque interception the sealed the fate of his first season in Denver, it was what he did after the game that proves he’s still the same guy he has been since he came into the league in 1998.
Ray Lewis is on a pretty notable farewell tour, a tour that was extended thanks to Manning on Saturday. Lewis played his last game against long time foe on Sunday and while the uniform was different, the respect Manning has for Lewis is just the same.
Manning waited nearly two hours for Lewis to finish up in the Ravens locker room so he could congratulate him on the win, and say his last goodbyes to Lewis.
Since coming into the league in 1996, there has been just six seasons that Lewis and Manning didn’t meet. In 2006, the Colts didn’t play the Ravens in the regular season, but they did matchup in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, a matchup won by Manning on his way to his first ever Super Bowl.
Manning has gone against Lewis a total of twelve times in his career, with three of those meetings coming in the postseason.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Lewis had never been on a team that had beaten Manning in the postseason. In their career’s Lewis got punked hard by Manning as he’ll finish his career 3-9 all-time against the quarterback.
But the biggest win of the series’ history came on Saturday night.
So while it’s not as storied as some of Lewis’ other rivalries over his career, it’s one that certainly existed in great glory. When they met in the locker room on Saturday they had more NFL memories in one room than most players could ever hope for.
Manning had finally been beaten by Lewis, and in true Manning fashion he wanted to pay his respects to one of the finer NFL careers we’re likely to ever see by a linebacker.