“A rival is someone that you are inspired by, and someone that sometimes you fear,” said professional NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon in an interview with NFL Network. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are hands down one of the most iconic and unforgettable rivalries in the National Football League. This Sunday, these NFL quarterbacks will meet for the seventeenth time, possibly be their last meeting on the football field ever.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) tosses a touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC divisional playoffs on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots advanced, 27-20. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tosses a touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC divisional playoffs on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots advanced, 27-20. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) threw four interceptions against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) threw four interceptions against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS)

These are games that we lives for as sports fans. The 2015 AFC Championship game will be played at Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado this Sunday.

Manning and Brady have met sixteen times in the past. Brady holds the edge of 11-5 wins over Manning. This will be the fourth AFC Championship title game played between these two athletes, which is the most two quarterbacks have met in the championship since the 70’s. Manning currently holds the record of post season wins over Brady, winning two of the three played.

While fans are so quick to compare Superbowl rings, the overall statistics should determine which quarterback really is the “GOAT,” (Greatest of all time).

Brady has four Superbowl titles over Manning’s solo Superbowl win, yet statistically Manning has thrown 539 career touchdown passes in comparison to the 428 of Brady. Actually, Manning leads Brady in almost all statistics including attempts, completions, yardage and percentage, save number of interceptions and rushing yards. Manning is on top of passing yards and touchdowns in the regular season, while Brady is on top of passing yards and touchdowns in the post season.

Both legends have had their names dragged through the mud within the last year. Brady had to deal with his “deflategate” accusations, while Manning was recently accused of using human growth hormone to overcome his injury.

Despite all of the past history, both players have the utmost respect for one another. That might be what makes this rivalry so great.

“I’ve always looked up to Peyton and the way he plays,” said Brady in an interview with NFL Network, while Manning has also said, “He’s a great player and I know how hard he works at it.” These two quarterbacks are very closely matched, which is why either of them deserve the AFC Championship title.

Each player has their advantages and disadvantages heading into Sunday’s game. Manning gets to play this game on his home turf where his passing rate is 97.9 percent. Both of Manning’s AFC Championships have been at home.

Although Manning has won 2-3 AFC Championship games, Brady has beat Manning 9-2 in the postseason. Brady, however, has a healthy team and is out for revenge after being accused of the “deflategate” scandal after last year’s AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts.

Although Brady and the Patriots are favored to win this game, I am a firm believer in fairy-tales. In the end, I hope Manning and the Broncos get to walk away with this storybook ending.

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