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Switched At Birth: Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers

What would the NFL look like if Aaron Charles Manning had arrived in the world that day in 1976 and the Rodgers family welcomed young Peyton a few years later?

March 24, 1976. Olivia and Archie Manning welcome their second son into the world -- Aaron Charles Manning. Youngest child Eli follows in 1981, and the three boys (Aaron, Cooper, and Eli) are eventually known as "The ACE in the hole" in their Pop Warner league. People are soon debating which son of the former No. 2 pick will have the most promising football future.

December 2, 1983. Peyton Rodgers is born in Chico, California to Darla and Edward Rodgers. He is also the second of three sons. Edward encourages all of his boys to work hard and take advantage of their athletic gifts, remembering that his own potential was never realized due to his party habits in college.

1994-97. Aaron Manning graduates from high school and, in a surprise to many, eschews his father's alma mater, Ole Miss. Trusting his future to quarterback guru Cam Cameron, Aaron commits to the University of Michigan. When Cameron leaves for an NFL job shortly thereafter, Manning considers transferring but ultimately decides against it, and in his sophomore year he is named the starter over Brian Griese.

In three seasons, Aaron Manning sets several Michigan passing records and wins two Outback Bowls, though he never beats Ohio State and falls just short of a national title in 1997 thanks to a Rose Bowl loss to Cal, led by impressive sophomore quarterback Tom Brady. That year, Manning and fellow Wolverine Charles Woodson are invited to New York as Heisman finalists, but they split the vote and the trophy goes to Randy Moss, the first underclassman to win the award.

1998. The Detroit Lions trade up from the 20th pick to No. 1 overall to take Aaron Manning, giving the Indianapolis Colts a ransom of future selections in return. Manning wins the starting job in preseason but struggles with interceptions as a rookie. Barry Sanders sees potential in Aaron, however, and the duo lead the Lions to consecutive NFC Championship appearances in 1999 and 2000.

2002-04. Despite enjoying a successful career at Pleasant Valley High School, Peyton Rodgers does not attract any interest from Division I schools (other than a walk-on offer from Tennessee). He enrolls at College of the Siskiyous and leads the Eagles to a NorCal Conference title. Former Siskiyous alumnus Dan Hawkins, at the time the head coach of Boise State, learns about Peyton and offers him a scholarship. Rodgers then transfers to Boise, where he spends one year as the backup before leading the Broncos to an undefeated season in 2004, and a shocking road win over Georgia in 2005 on the way to winning the Fiesta Bowl in a romp over Notre Dame.

Meanwhile, after two lackluster 9-7 years and the retirement of Bobby Ross following the 2002 season, the Lions hire Marvin Lewis as head coach. The defensive improvements Lewis brings pay immediate dividends. In 2003, Detroit goes 13-3 and advances to the Super Bowl, losing narrowly to Tom Brady and the Patriots. Aaron Manning signs an extension that keeps him with the Lions through 2011.

2005. Despite his accomplishments at Boise State, Peyton Rodgers is dismissed by many scouts, who don't believe he regularly faced NFL level talent in college and worry about his size. Consequently, Rodgers is not taken until the 229th pick, when the Chiefs draft him. Under the tutelage of Trent Green (himself a late round selection), Peyton spends two seasons adjusting to the NFL and preparing for his shot.

2006. Detroit beats Indianapolis -- the team they traded with to get Aaron Manning -- in Super Bowl XLI. (In an interesting twist, Manning finally gets his victory over an Ohio State QB, Colts starter Craig Krenzel.)

2007. With Trent Green's departure, Peyton Rodgers is officially named the starter in Kansas City. He immediately develops an excellent rapport with Tony Gonzalez, who breaks his own record for catches by a tight end in a single season. A limited defense and running game keep the Chiefs from making the playoffs, however.

2008. A second consecutive early exit from the playoffs gets reporters wondering if Aaron Manning is a one-hit wonder who just happens to play in a particularly weak NFC North. When Marvin Lewis retires after the season, the Lions elevate offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski to head coach. He keeps the core passing game of Manning, Eric Moulds, Steve Smith and Jason Witten intact.

2009. Peyton Rodgers and new coach Rex Ryan lead the Chiefs to the playoffs, where they win the Wild Card Game before falling in the Divisional round. The Lions get back to the Super Bowl, but Aaron Manning doesn't have his best game, and Detroit loses to the Miami Dolphins and their star quarterback, Drew Brees.

2010. There's joy in the streets of Kansas City after Rodgers takes the Chiefs through the AFC side of the bracket easily and then throws four touchdowns against the Falcons in the Super Bowl, in what winds up being Atlanta coach Norv Turner's last chance to win a title as a head coach.

2011. Surgery forces Aaron Manning to miss the entirety of the season, and the Lions stumble to 4-12 with John Parker Wilson under center. Bob Bratkowski is fired, and many Detroit fans wonder if Manning's taken his last snap with the team. Some sportswriters suggest Eli Manning's the better quarterback of the two brothers, after he wins a second Super Bowl with the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs go 14-2 but suffer a stunning loss to the Bengals early in the playoffs.

2012. After the Lions decide to draft Ryan Tannehill, Aaron Manning elects to leave the Midwest but stay in the NFC, signing with the Seattle Seahawks. Combined with the stellar young defense put together by coach Butch Davis in his second go at the NFL, the Seahawks prove to be formidable immediately, making it to the NFC Championship before falling to the Packers. Manning also begins appearing in several TV ads for Jack In The Box.

A slow start -- and a questionable loss to the Saints in Week 3 thanks to a blown call by replacement officials as to whether Mark Ingram was down before he crossed the goal line on the game-winning TD -- keep the Chiefs from a playoff bye, and they fall short of the AFC Championship Game. Some grumble that Rex Ryan may have peaked as the coach in Kansas City.

2013. Rodgers and the Chiefs come back from an incredible 28-point deficit to beat the Indianapolis Colts, as Ryan Tannehill throws several interceptions in the second half. They fall to Tom Brady and the Patriots in the next round, however, while the Bengals go on to play in the Super Bowl thanks to an amazing level of play from Cam Newton.

Cincinnati's opponent? The Seahawks. In the first overtime game in Super Bowl history, Aaron Manning takes the Seattle offense down the field to the 2-yard line, where Marshawn Lynch runs for the deciding touchdown. Convinced his legacy as a professional is secure, Manning retires after the game and takes the head coaching job at his alma mater, the University of Michigan, who's just fired Lane Kiffin.

2014. Peyton Rodgers enjoys one of his best seasons ever, as the Chiefs set the team record for touchdowns caught by wide receivers. A narrow AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots gives Kansas City fans renewed hope for the future. Tom Brady wins another Super Bowl.