Peyton Manning Opens Up on Hiring Bill Belichick for ManningCast: ‘Have I Been Hit in the Head Too Many Times?’

Peyton Manning jokingly suggested he had reservations about adding New England Patriots legend Bill Belichick to the "ManningCast."

Peyton Manning and Bill Belichick once were bitter rivals. Later this year, they’ll be co-workers.

The strange turn of fate isn’t lost on Manning, who recently confirmed Belichick will be a recurring guest on next season’s “ManningCast” broadcasts on ESPN. Considering Manning’s history against the New England Patriots, who parted with Belichick in January, his pairing with the greatest coach in NFL history should produce great TV.

Peyton Manning Dishes on Adding Bill Belichick to ‘ManningCast’

Manning, of course, spent his final four NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos. And he discussed his post-career endeavors on Monday after appearing at a fundraising event in Denver.

“This year, we’re going to add Bill Belichick,” Manning said. ” … I’m kind of wondering if I’ve been hit in the head too many times. I was recruiting a guy — he was being courted by the other networks — and I was recruiting a guy that pretty much made a lot of my football life miserable. And I was [saying] to him, ‘No, we really want you to come work with us.'”

Manning then explained what Belichick could add to the ManningCast, which is an alternate Monday Night Football broadcast that features rotating guests.

“I think that will be great to bring a whole different kind of insight to the game on the defensive side,” Manning said. “Bill Belichick knows all things football, and I just remember Tom Brady used to tell me how he used to sit with Coach Belichick on Tuesdays, and Belichick would just kind of tell him what we need to do to win this game — ‘Tom, this is what the defense is going to try to do to you.’

“[Former Colts head coach] Tony Dungy did that with me. So, to have that different perspective on every game that Eli and I are doing this year — I think will be awesome. We’re excited to do it again, and it’s been fun to do.”

The Manning-Patriots rivalry produced some of the NFL’s greatest moments of the last two decades. Belichick’s Patriots got the better of Manning in the early years, but Manning returned the favor later in his career.

Notable Belichick-Manning Battles

Manning went 8-12 in his career against Belichick, including playoff matchups. Three of those victories came in AFC Championship Games, with the final two coming while Manning played for the Broncos. Tom Brady was at quarterback for New England in all but three of the 15 matchups (two in 2000 before he was the Patriots’ starter; one in 2008).

Manning got off to a rough start against Belichick’s Patriots, to say the least. He started 1-5 against Belichick in regular-season games and lost his first two playoff matchups against the legendary head coach.

The first playoff loss came in the 2003 AFC Championship Game. Manning and the Indianapolis Colts went 12-4 that season and entered the playoffs with a seemingly unstoppable offense. But Belichick’s defense smothered Indy in a 24-14 win while forcing Manning into four interceptions at Gillette Stadium.

The two met in New England again a year later for an AFC Divisional Round matchup. The result was similar, with the Patriots winning 20-3 and Manning completing 27 of 42 passes for 238 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception.

But the tide began to change in 2005. Manning won four of his next five regular-season games against Belichick, and in 2006, beat New England in the AFC title game. Two weeks later, Manning beat the Chicago Bears for the first of his two Super Bowl championships.

It was a mixed bag for Manning in Denver. He went 0-3 against the Patriots during the regular season, but he beat Belichick in the 2013 and 2015 AFC Championships Games. Some Patriots fans place an asterisk on the 2013 Broncos win, as New England was decimated by injuries, but a win is a win.

Belichick ultimately has the edge in his rivalry against Manning. But Manning still can hang his hat on having more wins against Belichick than any other QB in history.

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