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New England vs. Denver AFC Championship Preview: Here We Go Again

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Peyton Manning will try to best Tom Brady this weekend.

In 2004, Nelly, a rapper, dropped his fourth album. Called Sweat, it featured songs like Flap Your Wings, Getcha Getcha and Playa. But no song on the album made it big like Heart of a Champion, a tune that, per Wikipedia, is about “how [Nelly] is at the top of his game and has the drive and will to succeed in life.”

If you forget the song, maybe you’d remember it by the beat, one that sounds like Roundball Rock, which was used on The NBA on NBC from 1990-2002 (thanks, Wikipedia).

Still not remembering? Just listen to this and then compare it to this.

That’s Nelly’s Heart of a Champion. In the song – which, again, hit consumer ears in 2004 – Nelly references nine different athletes. At the time, three or so of them were long retired, albeit legends. One of them was also Julius Peppers, another was Ray Lewis. Shaq was mentioned too.

Oh, and I can’t forget about Michael Redd. He apparently warranted two lines worth of lyrics in Nelly’s poetic masterpiece.

But in 2004, one man in that song was mentioned who is arguably better today than he was back then. That’s right – Nelly gives a shout out to Peyton Manning in the rap, noting his unbelievable "aim".

It’s a decade later, and guess what? Nelly could still be talking about Manning’s aim.

The now Broncos quarterback is in the AFC Championship once again, going up against, once again, a quarterback who probably would be in Heart of a Champion if not for having a less flow-worthy last name. It’s another year, and yet another Brady vs. Manning playoff game. I feel like it's 2004.

Will Manning, a timeless wonder, get the best of Brady this time around, or will Brady do what he does best, winning when it matters? Let’s dig into the metrics and look at some of the key pieces to this big game.

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In This Article

Julian Edelman
WR, New England Patriots

Knowshon Moreno
RB, Denver Broncos

LeGarrette Blount
RB, New England Patriots

Peyton Manning
QB, Denver Broncos

Stevan Ridley
RB, New England Patriots

Tom Brady
QB, New England Patriots

Champ Bailey
DB, Denver Broncos

Chris Harris
DB, Denver Broncos

Quentin Jammer
DB, Denver Broncos

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
DB, Denver Broncos

Vince Wilfork
DL, New England Patriots

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