For years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played in an NFC South division loaded with some of the NFL's most accomplished quarterbacks.
The New Orleans Saints have had Drew Brees since 2006, and Brees has won a Super Bowl, seven passing titles and two Offensive Player of the Year awards in that span.
The Atlanta Falcons have had Matt Ryan since 2008 and Ryan has an MVP award and a Super Bowl appearance on his resume.
The Carolina Panthers had Cam Newton from 2011 to 2020 (with his departure likely upcoming after being given permission to seek a trade) and Newton also has an MVP award gracing his mantel along with a Super Bowl appearance.
Now the Buccaneers have Tom Brady.
This immediately sets up at least four marquee quarterback matchups for Tampa Bay in 2020, with a pair of games each against Ryan's Falcons and Brees's Saints. The Panthers may or may not still have Newton under center; they've reportedly given him permission to seek a trade. There are two looming MVP-vs.-MVP matchups on the Bucs' schedule in 2020 when the Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers) and the Kansas City Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes) come to town.
That will be a treat for Buccaneers fans at Raymond James Stadium this fall. Brady has already been a part of some historic and thrilling rivalries with other NFL quarterback greats. The NFC South now features the top two passers of all time in terms of both yards and touchdowns, with Brees slightly ahead of Brady in both categories. Those two have faced off six times in the past (more on that below). Here's a look at new Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and his most prominent head-to-head matchups:
Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning: This is possibly the most famous QB matchup in league history, given that Brady and Manning presided over contemporary teams that were in Super Bowl contention against each other year after year, often meeting deep in the postseason. The two quarterbacks started against each other 17 times over 17 seasons, including the playoffs, and Brady's Patriots won 11 of those 17 games.
Brady, obviously, was with New England for that entire span, while Manning was a Colt until joining the Denver Broncos in 2012. Brady was 8-4 against Manning as a Colt and 3-2 against him as a Bronco. Brady's crew won the first six meetings, starting in 2001, before things began to even out.
Brady and Manning met five times in the playoffs, with the Patriots winning two of those five contests, the last two being victories by Manning's Broncos in the 2013 and 2015 AFC Championship Games. Brady's Patriots defeated Manning's Colts in the 2003 AFC Championship Game.
Both Brady and Manning threw more than 600 passes against each other in head-to-head matchups. Brady had a superior TD-INT ratio, 32-15 to Manning's 35-22, and a better overall passer rating, 92.8 to 87.5. During one particularly thrilling stretch from 2009 to 2013, Brady's Patriots met Manning at the helm of first the Colts and then the Broncos four times in the regular season and both future Hall-of-Famers were at the top of their games. Brady completed 70.9% of his passes in those four games and had a TD-INT ratio of 9-1, leading to a 110.4 passer rating. Manning was nearly as hot, completing 65.9% of his passes with a 13-6 TD-INT ratio and a 96.1 passer rating. The Patriots won all four games, scoring at least 31 points each time.
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Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger: Brady was drafted by New England in the sixth round in 2000 and became a starter in 2001. Roethlisberger was a first-round pick by Pittsburgh in 2004 and stepped right into a starting role. From 2004 through last year, neither the Patriots nor the Steelers ever lost more than eight games in a season, which means the two teams were often fighting for the same prize.
Brady's record against Roethlisberger is strong, with a 9-3 record in head-to-head meetings, including a 2-0 mark in the postseason. Both of those playoff meetings were AFC Championship Games, with Brady and the Patriots prevailing 41-27 in 2004 and 36-17 in 2017. The last time Brady met Roethlisberger, early last year before the Steeler QB's injury, Brady completed 24 of 36 passes for 341 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 33-3 New England victory.
Brady was nothing short of outstanding when facing Roethlisberger and the Steelers. His overall passer rating in those games was a scintillating 112.9, with a 29-5 TD-INT ratio that would represent one superb season against a wide variety of opponents. That's good, too, because Roethlisberger played well in that series for the most part, too, with a 90.7 passer rating of his own and 22 touchdown passes.
View pictures from QB Tom Brady's NFL career thus far.
Tom Brady vs. Philip Rivers: Like Roethlisberger, Rivers was drafted in the first round in 2004, though he had to wait for Brees to clear town before becoming the starter in 2006. Over the next 14 seasons, he and Brady would tangle eight times, including three times in the postseason.
Brady and the Patriots won all eight of those games. That included the 2007 AFC Championship Game, which at the time preserved New England's 18-0 record, though Eli Manning and the New York Giants would deny the Patriots a perfect season in Super Bowl XLII. The two most recently met in the 2018 Divisional playoff round, and both Brady and Rivers were masterful in that game, with Brady commanding a 41-28 victory by completing 34 of 44 passes for 343 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees: Brees actually holds a 3-2 edge in the head-to-head series with Brady, though the Patriots have beaten the Saints in each of the last two meetings. Two of Brees's wins came while he was at the helm of the San Diego Chargers in 2002 and 2005.
Brees has been remarkable in his head-to-head games against Brady's teams, throwing 12 touchdown passes and just one interception and compiling a passer rating of 116.1. Brady came back strong in the last two meetings, however, leading the Patriots to a 30-27 win in 2013 and a 36-20 victory in 2017 while compiling a 105.5 passer rating.
Tom Brady vs. Matt Ryan: As interconference foes, Brady and Ryan haven't matched up often, but Brady has definitely had the upper hand. Those two have faced off four times and the Patriots won all four.
Three of those meetings were regular-season contests dating all the way back to 2009, Ryan's second season in the league. One, however, was a much bigger game. New England and Atlanta met in Super Bowl LI at the end of the 2016 season, and the Falcons ran out to a huge 28-3 lead in the third quarter. What followed was the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, as Brady rallied the Patriots to a 28-28 tie at the end of regulation and then won the Lombardi Trophy with a methodical 75-yard touchdown drive to open overtime.
Brady has thrown seven touchdowns and just one interception in his games against Ryan's Falcons and most recently completed 21 of 29 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-7 regular-season victory in 2017.
Tom Brady vs. Drew Bledsoe: Brady got his first opportunity to play two games into the Patriots' 2001 season when Bledsoe was sidelined by a vicious hit from Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. He never relinquished the job.
An established star in his own right, Bledsoe had been to three Pro Bowls since being drafted first overall in 1993. After ceding his starting spot to Brady, Bledsoe left for the Buffalo Bills in 2002 and played five more NFL seasons, the last two in Dallas. Moving to Buffalo meant staying in the AFC East and facing Brady's Patriots twice a year.
With one big exception, that rematch with his former teammate didn't go well. Bledsoe went 1-5 as a starter for the Bills against Brady's Patriots, and most of those games were lopsided. Buffalo was outscored by a 156-47 margin in the five losses in that span. The startling outlier was Buffalo's 31-0 blanking of Brady's Patriots in the opening weekend of 2003. Bledsoe only threw for 230 yards and one touchdown in that game but Brady was picked off four times.
That proved to be an almost incomprehensible outlier. New England won 17 of its next 18 games, including Super Bowl XXXVIII over Carolina plus a matching 31-0 shutout of the Bills in December. Brady threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions in that game.
Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning: Brady's history with the younger Manning quarterback isn't as extensive as that with his Peyton rivalry, but it is historic in that it includes two Super Bowl matchups. One of those was the enormous upset in Super Bowl XLII in which Manning's Giants ended the 2007 Patriots' dream of an undefeated season. Remarkably, Manning and the Giants also beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI following the 2011 campaign.
Both of those games were razor-close, with strong performances by both quarterbacks. In three regular-season matchups, Brady's team notched two victories, but both quarterbacks were strong throughout the series. Manning finished his career with an 11-3 TD-INT ratio and a 96.7 passer rating against Brady's teams.
All of the above quarterbacks join Brady on the NFL's top-25 all-time list in passing yardage. Brady has faced eight other passers on that top-25 list in his career. Here are the results:
- Joe Flacco. Brady leads the all-time head-to-head series with Flacco, 6-3, though Flacco's Ravens got two of those wins in the postseason. The two passers are 1-1 in AFC Championship games, with Flacco winning in 2009 and Brady in 2012.
- Carson Palmer. Brady is 4-0 all-time against Palmer, with all of those games coming while Palmer was with the Cincinnati Bengals. Brady had a 10-2 TD-INT ratio in those games.
- Donovan McNabb. Brady and McNabb only met twice, but one was in Super Bowl XXXIX. The Patriots won that one, 24-21, as Brady completed 23 of 33 passes for 236 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. McNabb was picked off four times. Brady was also dominant in the Patriots' regular-season win over the Eagles in 2003.
- Vinny Testaverde. Testaverde, originally a first-overall draft pick by the Buccaneers in 1987, bounced around seven teams over 21 NFL seasons and was even Brady's teammate in 2006. The only time the two QBs met was from 2001-03 when Testaverde was with the Jets. Brady won all three.
- Matthew Stafford. Brady's Patriots and Stafford's Lions have only met twice, producing a 1-1 split.
- Kerry Collins. Brady met Collins as a starter three different times, once each while Collins was a Giant, a Raider and a Titan. It was all Patriots, as Brady threw eight touchdown passes and no interceptions in those games and his team won all three by a combined score of 106-26.
- Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Brady faced both of the Packers' star quarterbacks twice and split both series, none of them in particularly high-leverage situations.