Bill Belichick on playing against Peyton Manning: I wouldn't call it fun

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News sat with New England Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick and talked exclusively about Peyton Manning.

"In so many ways,"Bill  Belichick says, "because of his talent and because of how good he is at the strategy and the execution of his offense, it is the ultimate challenge."

Bill Belichick wasted no time in heaping praise on Peyton Manning, whose Denver Broncos had just beaten Belichick's New England Patriots three days prior in the AFC Championship Game.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of Canyon of Heroes, I shall fear no man, but Manning.

"With [Manning] it is every ... single … thing. It’s cadence. It’s formations. It’s little adjustments he’ll have guys make in pass routes. A protection on an inside-the-20-yard-line play. The changes he’ll make on third down, or with play action. But it’s all within the context of their offense. And it’s not 50 different things. Maybe there’ll be five plays in a game that you’ll think, ‘I haven’t seen that before.’ Or: ‘I haven’t seen that in several weeks.’ But you know you’ve seen all the rest of it before, and somehow he’s still making it work."

Belichick told Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News Tuesday. Belichick's Patriots, 10-5 all time against Manning (one of those wins coming earlier this season) will be watching the Super Bowl from the comfort of their own homes this Sunday.

"[Manning] is such a good game manager. And as soon as he sees something, he seizes on it, takes advantage. He’s very good at that. Ahead or behind, he always does the right thing. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t make mistakes, or throw interceptions. He does. Everybody does. But there aren’t many games when you walk away and think, ‘Wow, why would he do that?’"

So what should be in the cards for Seattle? How should they approach Sunday's game?

"I think Seattle is a tough matchup for Denver. They don’t have to do things much differently than they have been doing. They’re looking for enough pass rush and doing enough to jam [Manning’s] receivers to cause problems for him doing the things he likes to do. And the amount of zone they play could be a problem for him. But of course that becomes a problem for Seattle if Manning is picking them apart."

Belichick explains that the way to top the Broncos is to not let them have the lead, using Denver's regular season home game loss against the San Diego Chargers this season as an example.

"Listen," Bill Belichick says, "it’s not like Manning is going to panic if he does have to play from behind. But if you are able to come out and get ahead of them, you do take away some of his comfort zone. I say this in a complimentary way, but they’re a front-running team."

Lupica finished up by asking about the fun of playing against Manning, "I wouldn't call it fun".

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