The Best VS. The Best

What makes a good sports rivalry? That question has been asked all week as everyone prepares for the 14th meeting between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.  Two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL; and both guaranteed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

So what makes a good rivalry? Well some fans will say they like it when either the team or athletes hate each other like the Yankees vs. the Red Sox – the teams don’t like each other and the fans of these teams despise each other.  Very similar is Ohio State vs. Michigan a rivalry that started in 1897; and I can tell you being from Michigan that you just know from the time you are little and you show an interest in football that you have to dislike Ohio State or run the risk of being disowned.

A rivalry can also be about mutual respect like Martina Navratilova vs. Chris Evert who faced each other 80 times.  There was no love lost between the Celtics and the Lakers but there was definitely mutual respect between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson whose rivalry was legendary and so was their friendship.

Rivalries can come between countries like India vs. Pakistan and the sport of Cricket.  India has an 8-0 record against their arch rival with an estimated 1 billion people tuning in to watch – now that’s a fan base.

Then some rivalries are so big that generations talk about them to this day.  Boxing’s rivalry between Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier is that type of rivalry.  The fights between Ali vs. Frazier still spark debate – these two fought three times and created one of the largest fights ever with the “Thrilla in Manila.”

So where does Manning vs. Brady fit in? Years from now when football fans talk about hall of fame quarterbacks going head to head they will definitely bring up Manning vs. Brady simply the best vs. the best – I can’t wait!