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This generation's Kelly vs. Marino

Posted Jan 16, 2014

The quarterback battle fans can’t stop talking about leading up to this Championship weekend is one that’s hit the turf many times before: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. The matchup resonates with Bills fans who remember a similarly timeless battle each time legendary quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Dan Marino faced off. We took a look at both rivalries by the numbers:

Brady vs. Manning

Everyone is familiar with this rivalry by now – but that doesn’t make it any less intriguing. On paper, Tom Brady doesn’t out-duel Peyton Manning with more yards or touchdowns, but both the regular season and playoff records speak for themselves. Brady has dominated the series at times, pulling off six straight wins starting with their first head-to-head meeting in 2001 and including the 2003 AFC Championship game and 2004 divisional round game. Although Manning did manage to win the 2006 AFC Championship en route to his first and only Super Bowl victory, most will say Brady is still in the driver’s seat of this rivalry.

Check out these stats to evaluate for yourself:

Manning Brady
YDS TDs INTs W/L YDS TDs INTs W/L
2001 196 1 3 L 168 0 1 W
2001 335 1 0 L 202 3 0 W
2003 278 4 1 L 236 2 2 W
*2003 237 1 4 L 237 1 1 W
2004 256 2 1 L 335 3 1 W
*2004 238 0 1 L 144 1 0 W
2005 321 3 1 W 265 3 0 L
2006 326 2 1 W 201 0 4 L
*2006 349 1 1 W 232 1 1 L
2007 225 1 1 L 255 3 2 W
2009 327 4 2 W 375 3 1 L
2010 396 4 3 L 186 2 0 W
2012 337 3 0 L 223 1 0 W
2013 150 2 1 L 344 3 0 W
Regular AVG 286.1 2.5 1.3 3-8 253.6 2.1 1.0 8-3
Playoffs AVG 275 0.7 2 1-2 204 1 0.7 2-1
* Denotes Playoff Game

Kelly vs. Marino

Similar to the Brady and Manning clash, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino were two quarterbacks at the top of their games who quickly developed an historic rivalry. As divisional foes from the late 80’s through the mid 90’s, Kelly and Marino faced each other in twenty-one games throughout their careers, including three playoff games. Jim Kelly won all three playoff games and held an 11-7 win advantage in their eighteen regular season meetings. As he did throughout his career, Dan Marino put up big numbers in many of their games, but he fell short in the majority of these contests. Marino was winless in the playoffs vs. the Bills when Kelly was at the helm.

Take a look at Kelly and Marino by the numbers:

Kelly Marino
  YDS TDs INTs W/L YDS TDs INTs W/L
1986 218 1 2 L 337 1 1 W
1986 189 2 0 L 404 4 0 W
1987 359 2 0 W 303 4 0 L
1987 217 2 0 W 165 0 3 L
1988 231 0 1 W 221 0 0 L
1988 211 1 0 W 224 1 3 L
1989 265 1 0 W 255 1 2 L
1990 140 0 1 L 177 1 0 W
*1991 339 3 1 W 323 3 2 L
1991 381 2 1 W 267 3 0 L
1991 185 3 0 W 326 2 2 L
1992 306 1 4 L 282 3 1 W
1992 212 0 0 W 321 2 1 L
*1993 177 1 2 W 268 1 2 L
1993 199 1 2 L 282 1 1 W
1994 130 0 1 W 212 1 0 L
1994 299 4 1 W 311 3 3 L
1995 147 0 0 L 232 0 0 W
1995 139 1 1 W 244 1 1 L
*1995 195 1 2 W 422 2 3 L
1996 240 2 1 L 263 1 0 W
Regular AVG 226.0 1.3 0.8 11-7 268.1 1.6 1.0 7-11
Playoffs AVG 237.0 1.7 1.7 3-0 337.7 2.0 2.3 0-3
* Denotes Playoff Game

The Kelly vs. Marino and Brady vs. Manning rivalries are two of the greatest in NFL history. Peyton Manning, the one who has broken many of Marino’s famed records, has an opportunity to redeem himself this Sunday in Denver.