NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Going into Brady-Manning Bowl 17, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady held an 11-5 edge over Peyton Manning. In playoff games the record was more balanced, two wins for both. The Patriots were favorites in this one, but the Broncos defense battered and bruised Brady, and Manning threw for two touchdowns to help lead his team to victory. Manning's high school teammate Nelson Stewart, who's also the head coach at Newman, said the game was surreal sitting on his sofa.
"It took my breath away a little. At first I was like this is really unfolding well, because you felt the underdog role," said Stewart. "As it kept going on, he got confidence, and I got excited, the texts starting coming more and more. I'm saying wow is he really going to do this. Again it goes down to that last conversion, you're jumping all over the place. Not just cause it's someone from your school, but it's someone you respect so much, that has had so much success."
Manning will be the oldest player at 39 years old to start a Super Bowl at quarterback. This summer he was grinding day in and day out behind closed doors at Newman, just to prepare for another shot at the Lombardi Trophy.
"I felt like he had one more good run in him. Just because watching him throw the football here, watching how hard he worked. To take six to eight weeks and train like a freshman. That drive and that determination, I had no doubt he was going to be there. I think the time off has helped him. Because here he is at his healthiest, not just physically but mentally. These things don't happen by accident," said Stewart.
This will be the first time in four Super Bowls for Peyton Manning that his team will be the underdog. The Panthers are installed as 5.5-point favorites.