We rank 'em. You react. That's how the Daily List rolls.
10/17/2007 01:23:00 PM
Best Duo Rivalries of All Time
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet again in Week 9.
By John Rolfe, SI.com
With Tom Brady and Peyton Manning playing fairly well, we appear to be in one of those special eras where two rival athletes tower above their sport. Brady, who has three mini-diamond mines affixed to his digits while Manning has one, is now 6-3 overall against his Colts counterpart -- including 2-1 in postseason play -- since becoming the Patriots' starter in 2001. One suspects they'll have to go through each other again this season to get to the jewelry store, and Brady is now eyeing Manning's single-season TD record (49). With any luck, the fun and games will continue through the decade, placing the two QBs firmly among the greatest duo rivalries of all-time.
Here are my top five:
1. Wilt Chamberlain vs. Bill Russell: The two giants met on the hardwood 142 times in 10 years, including six Eastern Conference Championships (1960, '62, '65. '66, '67, '68) and two NBA Finals ('64, '69). Wilt won the battle of stats, out-rebounding Russell 29-24 per game and scoring 50 or more points against him seven times, including 62 on Jan, 14, 1962, but the final score of that one - Celtics 145, Warriors 136 -- said it all about the rivalry's bottom line: Russell won nine championships to Chamberlain's one.
2. Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova: They started out as friends and grew to loathe each other over the course of what tennis scribe/commentator Bud Collins called "The Rivalry of the Century" -- 80 matches from 1973-88, with the fiery Navratilova topping the steely Evert, 43-37, but each coming away with 18 Grand Slam singles titles.
3. Richard Petty vs. David Pearson: How's this for metronomic dominance: NASCAR's top two all-time leaders in wins (Petty 200, Pearson 105) finished 1-2 in 63 races between August '63 and June '77. (Pearson won 33.) In all, The King and The Silver Fox faced each other 550 times, with Petty finishing ahead, 289-261, and winning seven championships to Pearson's three.
4. Alydar vs. Affirmed: While we're on the subject of racing, most folks only remember the 1978 Triple Crown won by Affirmed with the dogged Alydar finishing second in all three races (he briefly poked his head in front during the Belmont stretch run). But the two great colts met 10 times between June '77 and August '88. Affirmed won seven, with Alydar taking the Great American, the Champagne, and the Travers (when Affirmed was disqualified for interfering with his rival).
5. Mario Lemieux vs. Wayne Gretzky: The Great One ruled the '80s with his four-time Stanley Cup champion Oilers, but Super Mario ended Gretzky's run of seven straight scoring titles and eight consecutive MVP awards during the 1987-88 season. From then on, either superstar would win the scoring crown each season through '93-'94, but Lemieux took possession of the big silverware, coppng the Cup in '91 and '92. Gretzky's Kings reached the Cup final in '93.
How does a list of all time great sports rivalries not include Bird vs. Magic.
That rivalry rebuilt a league, renewed the classic Lakers vs Celtics feuds and was done with respect. I may have only been about 8 at the time but i still remember when Magic showed up at Bird's retirement night and spoke of him with such high regard, and it wasn't sounding forced like Aaron with Bonds breaking his record.
Not only that but rivalry extended from the NCAA to the NBA. It was played out at the highest levels of their sport.
There's nothing wrong with Affirmed & Alydar, the greatest horse rivalry by far. I would drop Gretzky-Lemieux because they were different generations - more like a passing of the torch. Replace that one with Ali-Frazier, which is the first one I thought of before I saw the list.
I agree with about 99% of the people who have commented so far...you guys are nuts for including Nascar and horses...and for not including Magic vs. Bird, Brady and Manning, and Ali vs. Frazier...you could even go out on a limb with Tiger and Phil...
Although the Colts/Pats have played each other in some big games, I always have a problem of saying there is a Manning/Brady rivalry when they are never actually on the field at the same time (umlike your other examples).
Evert/Navratilova was a great rivalry, but your description is backwards. They started off not liking each other but became great friends. They're great friends to this day; in fact Martina introduced Chris to Andy Mill, Chris' second husband/the father of Chris' children.
Just for good measure ... MAGIC vs. BIRD!!! But if it's racing you want, how can you put a couple of horses before Carl "National Anthem" Lewis and Ben "Doped Up" Johnson. What about coaching ... Phil Jackson vs. Pat Riley. Boxing you have obviously Ali vs. Frazier, but one of the more memorable ones is Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas "Hitman" Hearns.
Arnie vs Jack is a better rivalry than Tiger/ Phil. Lefty is a distant second ( at best) to Tiger.While Jack clearly had the edge over Arnie you could not count Palmer out. The same could be said for Player. I'm surprised no-one has mentioned Peyton vs "some idiotic kicker who got all liquored up".
This might be the worst list ever created. It is embarrassing. First you put Martina/Chris as #2 and then quote that moron Bud Collins who is quite possibly the worst announcer in history. Then you put car racing, horse racing and hockey on the list as if any red-blooded American sports fan would ever put any duo-rivlary from those sports in their top 5. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.
This list is such a joke, leaving off Bird vs. Magic ... here's some more funny one: Bill Cartwright vs. Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning vs. Jeff Van Gundy, Bo Jackson vs. Brian Bosworth, Spudd Webb vs. Dominique Wilkins, Nolan Ryan vs. Robin Ventura, Isaiah (Not Thompson) Thomas vs. Bill Laimbeer, Shaq vs. Kobe, Jimmy Johnson vs. Barry Switzer, Martin and Bill Gramatica vs. Overly Excited Celebrations, Roadrunner vs. Wiley Coyote, and The Greyhounds vs. The Electric Rabbit. That last one is a classic.
Bonds vs. Integrity, McGuire vs. Congress, Stern vs. Dress Codes, Selig vs. Rationality, US Soccer vs. Winning, Britney vs. The Super Nanny, Tyson vs. Humility, Trent Green vs. Head Protection, McNabb vs. Owens, Pedro vs. Zimmer, A Rod vs. a Pay Cut
There are so many that could be on this list - how does a pair of horses beat out:
Bird vs Johnson Ali vs Frazier Shaq vs Kobe Shaq vs Phil Jackson Billy Martin vs MLB Umpires Lebron vs Mello Bo vs Woody Lloyd vs "Sweater Vest" Randy Johnson vs the Bird Nolan Ryan vs Robin Ventura Pedro vs Zimmer George vs every Yankee manager of the past 30+ years Tyson vs The Ear Spurrier vs Fulmer Dale vs Rusty Dale vs Waltrip Dale vs Nascar Gordon vs Dale Jr Dale Jr vs Stepmother Brady vs Manning Bret Favre vs Old Age (hell - you could say this about Jesse Orossco, Kenny Lofton, etc etc) Landis vs Doping
There are a TON of duo rivalries that are far better than what you have on your list - some belong - but most.......NO. Just depends on your passion for the games - every sport has theirs.
Keep the daily coming - it's always fun to see the ignorance level of the readers, and to broadcast my own.
Seriously, John Rolfe should be fired. How in the world does SI, one of the highest profile magazines publish a column of best duo rivalries and leave out Magic and Bird, not only did they duke it out in the pros, but they did it in college as well. Get a clue SI!
You are an idiot. Not only did you fail to put Magic/Bird, Ali/Frazier, McEnroe/Connors, Agassi/Sampras, Nicolas/Palmer but you couldn't even get your facts right. Wilt Chamberlain won two titles. He was the league MVP for the 66-67 76ers and the Finals MVP for the 71-72 Lakers, who won 33 in a row and a then record 69 regular season games. If you are going to be this big of a hack you should be sent to write for Fox Sports.