The rivalry between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning has been one of the best of the 21st century, but those dudes are old. One might be retiring, the other — despite his insistence that he’ll play until he’s 83 — likely isn’t far off. Brady vs. Manning is over, but we might not have to look far for our next great quarterback rivalry.
Just jump to the NFC, where fifth-year reigning MVP Cam Newton has become the face of the game after a 15-1 season that saw his Carolina Panthers make the Super Bowl. That broke up a two-year Super Bowl run for Russell Wilson, who put up MVP-caliber numbers in the second half of the 2015 season for the Seattle Seahawks.
The beauty of the Brady-Manning rivalry was they played on elite teams in the same conference, which meant they met often, and they’re about the same age. Newton and Wilson also represent perennial contenders in the same conference. Newton is 26, Wilson 27.
Like Brady and Manning, they have contrasting styles. One is flashy, the other more subdued. One is a former No. 1 overall pick, the other was a draft afterthought. Wilson feels a lot like Brady, Newton has a lot in common with Manning.
They’re likely to meet pretty much every year for another decade, and plenty of times in the playoffs, giving us new-aged battles between the game’s best dual-threat quarterbacks.
In the final seven weeks of the 2015 regular season, Newton and Wilson went 12-2 with 44 touchdowns and two interceptions. They’re both about to hit their respective strides, and they’ll be battling in their prime for years to come.
Carolina-Seattle is about to become the new rivalry to watch, which means Newton-Wilson will become our favorite narrative in no time.