Peyton Manning’s bashful four-year-old son stole the spotlight at a press conference after the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championships on Sunday.
As Manning, 39, spoke to the media during a press conference after his team advanced to the Super Bowl, his son joined him on stage, hiding behind his star father, occasionally peeking out at the crowd.
Donning his dad’s number 18 jersey and a celebratory ‘conference champions’ baseball cap, Marshall didn’t stray far on the stage as his dad spoke.
The Patriots have long been a roadblock in the way of Manning’s path to the Super Bowl, but in their latest AFC championship clash the wily quarterback and the Denver Broncos outlasted the Patriots 20-18.
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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning brought his four-year-old son Marshall on stage with him to speak with the media after his team beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championships on Sunday
Manning’s bashful son peeked out from behind the podium as his dad spoke during the press conference on Sunday
Donning his dad’s number 18 jersey and a celebratory ‘conference champions’ baseball cap, Marshall stood close to his dad throughout the conference
Marshall peered over the podium while his father speaks to the media after defeating thePatriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Marshall and Peyton Manning make their way off stage together after Peyton Manning spoke to the media on Sunday
Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game on Sunday
Manning, who at 39 becomes the oldest quarterback to reach the Super Bowl, choked back emotion before he greeted Tom Brady and longtime nemesis New England coach Bill Belichick for lengthy post-game handshakes.
‘I can’t get away from either of those guys. It’s been a special rivalry over the course of my career against the Patriots,’ Manning told reporters.
‘To play four times in the AFC Championship, with so much on the line, those games have been very special so I just wanted to take the time to share with Tom and Bill how much respect I have for them.’
The mutual respect has been earned over years of tussling. Manning and Brady have now faced off 17 times, with five of them coming in the post-season.
Brady has a 11-6 record in their head-to-head clashes.
Manning was long considered the gunslinger who smashed records en route to five regular-season MVP awards, while Brady was the gritty winner who has accumulated four Super Bowl titles.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) speaks with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) after the AFC Championship football game while surrounded by the media
Manning (left) and Brady (right) speak after Sunday night’s AFC Championship at Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller hoists the Lamar Hunt Trophy with his teammates after defeating the New England Patriots
Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots speak after the AFC Championship game
Denver Bronco cheerleaders make angels in the confetti after the Broncos defeated the New England Patriots
Denver Broncos tackle Tyler Polumbus (left) and his son, Noah celebrate with confetti after the Broncos defeated the New England Patriots
But since Manning left Indianapolis and joined Denver for the 2012 season he has flipped the script in beating Brady in both of their AFC title tilts.
Manning now heads for his fourth Super Bowl appearance with a 13-13 overall playoff record.
‘He’s a great player, someone I’ve always admired,’ Brady conceded following defeat. ‘(The Broncos) have got a great team.’
Rumors that 39-year-old Manning, who made his NFL debut in 1998, have been building all year, but he has yet to announce if he will leave the game.
If this 17th matchup with Tom Brady was indeed the final one, Peyton Manning got the last laugh – thanks to Broncos linebacker Von Miller.
The star of Denver’s dominant defense had two-and-a-half sacks, an interception and a pass breakup in the Broncos’ 20-18 win over the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game Sunday.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning smiles as he speaks to reporters after his team won the AFC Championship
Brady reacts after a failed fourth down conversion against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game
Manning reaches back to pass during the second half of the NFL football AFC Championship
Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots fails to make a catch in the fourth quarter against Aqib Talib #21 and Shiloh Keo #33 of the Denver Broncos
Aqib Talib #21 of the Denver Broncos reacts after a play in the second half against Danny Amendola #80 of the New England Patriots
DeMarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe also applied plenty of pressure, helping a ‘No Fly Zone’ secondary that was missing safeties TJ Ward (ankle) and Darian Stewart (knee) by the end.
Denver, which led the league in defense for the first time in franchise history, held on fourth down inside the 20 yard line on consecutive drives before allowing Rob Gronkowski to haul in a four-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left.
The Patriots had to go for two after Brady hit Rob Gronkowski in the back of the end zone because Stephen Gostkowski missed his first extra point in 524 tries in the first quarter.
Aqib Talib stepped in front of Brady’s pass and deflected it skyward. Roby, who forced the game-changing fumble in last week’s victory over Pittsburgh, made the pick.
The Broncos (14-4) needed one last big play to secure their spot in the Super Bowl and they got it from the unlikeliest of places – safety Shiloh Keo, a free agent who joined the team last month, smothered the onside kick.
Denver Broncos fans, wearing Bronco-themed clothing, face paint and hats, cheer during the second half of the NFL football AFC Championship game
A Denver Broncos fan donning a Bronco’s jersey, had and themed sleeves yells during Sunday’s championship game
A Denver Broncos fan who appears to have dressed himself up as a giant pom cheers during the AFC Championship
Denver Broncos fans watch the second half of the NFL AFC championship game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots
Derek Wolfe #95 and Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos react after a sack in the first half against the New England Patriots
Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib celebrates after breaking up a pass intended for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski during the second half of the game
After the successful onside kick, the celebration began. Manning surpassed his boss, John Elway, as the oldest quarterback to take his team to the Super Bowl. The Broncos will play the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl.
Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others, and Carolina’s big-play defense stifled Arizona’s top-ranked offense in a 49-15 romp Sunday for the NFC championship.
The NFL’s new top man at quarterback – Newton is an All-Pro this season – will lead the Panthers against five-time MVP Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in two weeks on February 7.
‘He’s going to do what he has to do to win,’ Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said of Manning. ‘He’s one of the greatest competitors ever in this league.’
Manning, who suffered through the worst season of his career and dealt with a tear in the plantar fascia near the heel of his left foot that cost him seven starts, took a knee to clinch the win.
Some Carolina Panthers celebrate from the bench during the second half the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is dunked after the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardina
Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton celebrates after the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals
Carolina Panthers’ Jonathan Stewart is introduced before the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson (21) consoles Frostee Rucker during the second half the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Carolina Panthers
Peterson looks up as he consoles Frostee Rucker during the second half the NFC Championship on Sunday
New England (13-5) won’t get a chance to defend its title. The Patriots lost their last two regular season games to squander home-field advantage. In a game that came down to one play, that may have made a difference.
‘A couple of plays here and there, where they made better plays, really were the deciding factors of the game,’ Patriots safety Devin McCourty said.
Manning is now 6-11 in his vaunted series against Brady, but 3-1 when it has counted the most – with the AFC title on the line.
One was in Indianapolis the year he won his only Super Bowl ring and now he’s beaten Brady twice in Denver for the Lamar Hunt Trophy.
So, two months shy of 40, Manning is going to Super Bowl 50 with the chance to become the first starting QB to win Lombardi Trophies for two different franchises.
As for the Panthers, it will be the first Super Bowl for Newton and the second trip to the big game for the Panthers (17-1), who lost to New England 12 years ago.
Denver, of course, has made a habit of going to Super Bowls, reaching it for a record-tying eighth time.
Arizona Cardinals’ David Johnson runs during the first half the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers’ Ted Ginn catches a pass in front of Arizona Cardinals’ Jerraud Powers during the second half of Sunday’s game
Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton leaps into the end zone for a touchdown run during the second half the NFL football NFC Championship game