Four months after facing each other in a classic NFL playoff game, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are ready to face each other… as teammates.
Their opponents? Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
They will square off in “The Match” at 6:30 p.m. ET Wednesday at Wynn Golf Club in Nevada, forming what could be the most star-studded quarterback foursome in golf history.
“After watching Mahomes and Allen face off in this epic game, I immediately called the network and said we had to do something with these guys,” said “The Match” co-creator Bryan Zuriff. “Let’s team up the younger guys against the older guys and make it the old guard against the new guard in the NFL.”
On the golf course instead of the grill, wearing collared shirts instead of pads, and targeting greens instead of wide receivers.
This will be the sixth iteration of the event, which will air on TNT, and the first without a professional golfer competing.
“The idea behind it was just to mix things up,” said Zuriff, a television producer whose inspiration for “The Match” came from being a childhood fan of the Skins Game, a PGA Tour tournament. involving only four golfers. “I’m not saying that we may not come back to professional golfers, because we certainly can. We just want to take risks.
“The Match” has evolved from its 2018 debut with “Tiger vs. Phil” where Phil Mickelson defeated Tiger Woods after 22 holes, including four playoffs, to win a $9 million purse. Following this event, Zuriff aimed for a “Monday Night Golf” format involving two NFL stars on the Monday following the Memorial Tournament. While at the driving range at the Riviera Country Club, he approached Brady with the idea. An avid golfer, Brady was intrigued. He also offered a suggestion: Peyton Manning.
“We had Tom and Peyton under contract with Tiger and Phil and then COVID hit,” Zuriff said. “I went to the network and said this is a producible event that we can do without fans. We have to be the first sporting event in place.
Called “The Match: Champions for Charity”, the event was played in May 2020 amid a global pandemic. He raised more than $20 million for COVID relief amid a global pandemic, as Woods and Manning beat Mickelson and Brady in a four-ball format.
“It kind of started this new franchise in that direction,” Zuriff said.
This led to “The Match: Champions for Change” in November 2020, where Mickelson and Charles Barkley defeated Manning and Steph Curry while raising millions for historically black colleges and universities.
Rodgers made his debut on “The Match IV” in July 2021, teaming up with professional golfer Bryson DeChambeau to defeat Mickelson and Brady. DeChambeau returned later that year and lost in a 12-hole one-on-one match with fellow golfer Brooks Koepka in “Bryson vs. Brooks.”
Future iterations could potentially involve…Spider Man?
“We could do a kind of Marvel vs. DC thing,” Zuriff said. “Take two superheroes. Tom Holland, Chris Pratt are super into golf. We’ve talked to those guys as well, and they definitely want to do it.”
“We’ve kind of become a ‘Dancing With the Stars’ type product that meets golf,” Zuriff added. “It’s about paying attention to the market and figuring out what’s working at the time that gives you the best matches.”
Right now, Mahomes teaming up with Allen creates a marquee match. Their partnership comes four months after the two faced off in a classic battle in the NFL Divisional Playoffs. The two combined for three touchdowns in the final two minutes of regulation time as Mahomes’ Chiefs beat Allen’s Bills, 42-36, in overtime to advance to the AFC Championship.
Mahomes was first approached to appear in “The Match” in 2021 against Brady after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
“We wanted to recreate the Super Bowl when Tom and Patrick,” Zuriff said. “Patrick hurt his toe but he loved golf and told me he couldn’t do it that year but would like to come back in the future.”
Mahomes now gets his rematch with Brady. Allen will have to wait for his with Mahomes.
The trash talk is ongoing between the two veterans and the two next-gen quarterbacks. Or, as Allen put it, the “two old bulls” and the “two young calves.”
“We’ve never seen four people compete at this level in a sport that’s not their natural sport,” Zuriff said. “They don’t want to lose anything, whether it’s ping-pong, golf or whatever. They are the most competitive athletes and they take their golf very seriously.