Prior to this past season's game against the Broncos, where the Patriots absolutely steamrolled Denver and left them with a husk of a team to limp out the rest of the season, Tom Brady sent the following e-mail to his friend:
"Thanks popa, I've got another 7 or 8 years. He has 2. That's the final chapter. Game on."
Brady implied that he was going to play for another decade, or so, while Peyton Manning was on his final laps. This is all likely true (although the quality of Brady's play, and the location, five years down the round is still up for interpretation).
This e-mail was released when Brady and the NFL Players Association filed their counterclaim to the New York courts over DeflateGate. This was a simple jest between friends, but Ted Wells would find a way for it to mean that Brady intended to personally close the book on Peyton's career. The e-mail was never meant to surface, but it did.
After the e-mail made the rounds, Brady, who is good friends with Peyton, sent an apology to the Broncos quarterback. Peyton made the following statement:
"Everybody's been speculating on that for a long time so I guess [Brady's] joining the list of everybody trying to predict.
"Hey, Tom sent me an apology text that was unnecessary. The fact his e-mails got revealed- that didn't make a lot of sense to me. No harm, no foul and didn't think a lot of it.
"Somebody said I was roasted; I've been roasted before, that is not a roast. I've never had a Comedy Central roast but I've had a couple of private dinners or banquets where I didn't know it was going to turn into a roast, but it did. I can promise you that e-mail was amateur night compared to some of the things people have said about me."
This was a classy deflection by Peyton over a total nonissue.