Peyton Manning just passed Brett Favre for the top spot on the all-time passing touchdowns list, a record that won’t be broken for a very, very long time. Manning and Favre are regarded as two of the greatest gunslingers ever, but back in 1997 Favre was a 28-year old entering his prime and Manning was just a college kid finishing up his career with the Tennessee Volunteers.

The two quarterbacks were chosen to grace the cover of a ’97 issue of Esquire magazine, an edition that posed the question “Does Football Still Matter?” and pondered the “future of America’s game.” The piece was written by Charlie Pierce – currently Esquire’s lead political blogger and contributor to Grantland – and picked a pretty great duo to represent it.

The cover’s relevance 17 years after it first hit newstands should be a pretty distinct answer to the question posed in the headline.