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New England Patriots Links 3/07/12 - Patriots-Colts Rivalry Ends With Release of Manning Today

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Christopher Price says Peyton Manning's release will officially close the book on the Patriots-Colts rivalry.

"Manning vs. Brady. Belichick vs. Dungy. Cut that meat. Fourth-and-2. "Throw the damn flag." Willie McGinest stops Edgerrin James. The Manning Face. Mike Vanderjagt. Adam Vinatieri. Super Bowl 41½..

While the Patriots have had longer-running feuds with other teams, over the better part of the last decade, no rivalry defined the NFL better than Patriots and Colts: From 2001 until 2010, every time the two teams met, it was always important. On most occasions, it was the rarest of sports events: a rivalry that actually lived up to the hype. Two teams who were at the height of their powers, using each other as a measuring stick for what defines a truly great team.

... In all, from 2001 until 2010, the Manning/Belichick/Brady combination met 15 times, including 12 regular-season games. The Patriots went 7-5 in regular-season matchups and 2-1 in the postseason. In that stretch, only two of those games -- 2005 and 2006 regular-season wins in Foxboro for the Colts -- could be classified as less-than-memorable affairs. (Even 2008, the game without Brady, came down to the fourth quarter.)

Mike Reiss reflects on Peyton and the Patriots.

With the Manning era in Indianapolis ending, it officially closes the book on one of the greatest rivalries/quarterback duels in the history of the game: Tom Brady's Patriots vs. Manning's Colts.

Those games are one of the highlights of the last decade of Patriots football. Brady's first career start came against the Colts in the third game of the 2001 season. Fittingly, Manning couldn't break through for his first Super Bowl championship without getting through Brady in the AFC Championship in the 2006 season.

... We saw a lot of Manning here in New England, his duels with Brady forever to be remembered as one of the great chapters in the Patriots' sterling run of success.

Seeing him in another uniform, playing against the Patriots, just won't be the same.