As long as there has been the forward pass, there have been quarterback rivalries. Which quarterback put up the better stats? Which one won more? Who claimed the most Super Bowl rings? It's as much a part of the game as winning and losing.
Today's top quarterback rivalry is clearly Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and New England Patriots signal caller Tom Brady, but is there another one sitting just below the surface, waiting to take over?
For the second time in two years, 2012 number one overall pick, Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Andrew Luck will face off against that year's number eight overall pick, Miami Dolphins' QB Ryan Tannehill.
Last year, the two teams went into their Week 9 contest in playoff contention, with identical 4-3 records. Tannehill would end the game 22-for-38 in passing, for 290 yards, with one touchdown. Across the field, Luck would set a rookie passing record with 433 yards on 30-for-48 passing, with two touchdowns. The Colts would come away with the victory, and, eventually, claim a playoff position.
The Dolphins would finish the season 7-9, three games out of the playoffs.
Luck would finish the season 339-for-627, a 54.1% completion rate, with 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. He has a passer rating of 76.5. Meanwhile, Tannehill would go 282-for-484. 58.3% completion rate, with 3,294 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. He would have a 76.1 passer rating.
Of course there are other rivalries that could be put up as the top battle outside of Manning and Brady. In the NFC West, Colin Kaepernick versus Russell Wilson will be a great one to watch - but intra-division rivalries lose something to the fact that the two teams are division rivals. Think of Dan Marino vs. Jim Kelly or Drew Bledsoe. Great games, great rivalry, but in the end, it was still Dolphins versus Bills or Patriots. There is also the Luck and Robert Griffin III, overall picks one and two from 2012,that could make a claim as a great rivalry, but being in opposite conferences, where they will only face off once every four years, will keep that from becoming a true rivalry.
Which brings us back to Tannehill and Luck. In two years in the league, they will face off against each other for the second time. If the two teams end up in the same place within their respective divisions this season, they could end up facing each other again, and again in Indianapolis, in 2014, followed by a guaranteed meeting in 2015 in Miami when the AFC East and AFC South match up.
Luck and Tannehill could, theoretically, meet every year. They could become two of the top young passers in the league. They could be headed for a great rivalry.
Sunday could be the second chapter in a battle that is a long way from being completed. Will they eventually supplant Manning and Brady as the top QB rivalry? Only time will tell.
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