*BRONCOS-PATRIOTS MATCHUP FEATURES ALL-STAR QBs *
Four-time NFL MVP PEYTON MANNING and his Denver Broncos face the New England Patriots led by two-time NFL MVP TOM BRADYon Sunday Night Football (8:30 PM ET, NBC) in Week 12. This marks the 14th meeting (including postseason) between the two All-Star quarterbacks. Brady owns a 9-4 career record against Manning.
"Manning versus Brady is as big as ever," says NBC play-by-play announcer AL MICHAELS.
Brady, who is in his 14th NFL campaign and Manning, who is a 16-year NFL veteran, rank among NFL elite at the quarterback position and continue to climb league record books.
Manning ranks second in NFL history with 163 wins, while Brady's 143 wins are the fifth-most in league annals among starting quarterbacks. Only BRETT FAVRE (186) has more wins than Manning, while Brady is gaining on Hall of Famers JOHN ELWAY (148) and DAN MARINO (147).
"What's remarkable is that these two guys have been able to keep their teams on top, almost no matter what," says NBC Sports analyst CRIS COLLINSWORTH. "All they do is keep on winning. That's how great they are."
This will mark only the second time in NFL history that two starting quarterbacks with 140 career regular-season wins each meet in a game. The previous matchup featured Elway (147) of the Denver Broncos and Marino (141) of the Miami Dolphins on December 21, 1998.
"If you look at their careers and what they've done over time; the Super Bowls they've played in and won, their consistency each and every week – that is what separates them from the rest," says CBS Sports' NFL TODAY analyst Marino. "They always give their team a chance to win when they're on the field."
The quarterbacks with the best regular-season record in the Super Bowl era (minimum 100 starts) and the most regular-season wins as a starter in NFL history:
BEST WIN PCT. IN SUPER BOWL ERA
MOST CAREER WINS AS STARTER
Manning and Brady also rank second and fifth respectively for the most touchdown passes in NFL history.
MOST CAREER TD PASSES
MVP PERSPECTIVE: Two-time NFL MVP and NFL Network analyst KURT WARNER provides the keys to success this season for Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
"Tom is one of those few quarterbacks that we say makes everyone around him better. He continues to lead, he continues to make plays and continues to find ways to win football games. It's been the most impressive season up to this point of him being able to will his team to win."
"The biggest thing for Peyton is he's comfortable in a system. It's his second year in the system, they really developed it around the players that they have, and then you add another guy like Wes Welker to the mix. They have playmakers. Julius Thomas has come on the scene. We already knew how great Peyton was, now you add all of these weapons at his disposal. That just takes him to another level and that's why we're seeing such a great start by Peyton."* *
LONDON CALLING: FLETCHER REACHES MILESTONE
This past Sunday, Washington Redskins linebacker LONDON FLETCHER played in his 250th consecutive game and became only the fourth player in NFL history to reach the milestone.
"It's an amazing feat," says Fletcher. "It's kind of hard to put that in perspective when you think about it. I remember a few years back when I was coming up on 200 games and thought to myself, 'Wow, 200 games.' And now here I am at 250 straight. I haven't had a chance to reflect on my career and all that, but when you look at it, it's awesome. It's amazing. It's a credit to my coaches, my teammates and how I try to listen to my body and also God's grace and blessings."
Fletcher, who entered the NFL in 1998 with the St. Louis Rams, has not missed a single game in his career and joined punter JEFF FEAGLES (352), quarterback BRETT FAVRE (299) and defensive end JIM MARSHALL (282) as the only players to appear in 250 consecutive games.
New England (1988-89), Philadelphia (1990-93), Arizona (1994-97), Seattle (1998-2002), New York Giants (2003-09)
Green Bay (1992-2007), New York Jets (2008), Minnesota (2009-10)
Cleveland (1960), Minnesota (1961-79)
St. Louis (1998-2001), Buffalo (2002-06), Washington (2007-13)
Fletcher also made his 209th consecutive start on Sunday, surpassing DERRICK BROOKS for the longest streak by a linebacker in NFL history. Fletcher's streak began on November 12, 2000 (Week 11) when he played for St. Louis and he has started every game since. Brooks started every game for the Buccaneers from 1996 through 2008.
"What's really driven me to play week in and week out is my commitment to my teammates and my desire to be out there on the field with them," says Fletcher.
Now in his 16th NFL season, Fletcher entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Division III John Carroll University and signed with the Rams in 1998.
"My expectations were just to make the team," recalls Fletcher. "I was just hoping I made the practice squad, to tell you the truth. But from there, once I got the opportunity, I felt I could play. It was just a matter of taking advantage of it."
Fletcher was a member of the 1999 Rams team that won Super Bowl XXXIV and has been selected to four Pro Bowls (2009-2012) in his career. He is closing in on 2,000 career tackles (1,998) and is the active leader in the category. In fact, Fletcher is one of only three active players with at least 1,000 career tackles.
"He's the hardest working guy I've ever been around," says Redskins defensive coordinator JIM HASLETT about Fletcher. "And he's the smartest linebacker I've seen. He is as good as it gets."
Fletcher has recorded 39 sacks and 23 interceptions in his career and is one of only four players to accomplish the feat since sacks became an official statistic in 1982, joining SETH JOYNER (52 sacks, 24 interceptions), RAY LEWIS (41.5 sacks, 31 interceptions) and WILBER MARSHALL (45 sacks, 23 interceptions).
"It's a good thing there aren't a lot of players like London," says Washington head coach MIKE SHANAHAN, "or else there would be no need for coaches."