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Brady-Manning among the best rivalries in sports

22 January 2016, 20:36

Tom Brady has more championship rings. Peyton Manning has nearly all the passing records.

Fans will always debate which quarterback is better. But there's no arguing it's one of the greatest rivalries in sports history.

So it's fitting a Super Bowl berth is at stake for Brady-Manning 17.

Brady and the New England Patriots are trying to repeat and earn their fifth NFL title. Manning and the Denver Broncos are aiming for the franchise's first championship in 16 years and his second.

Also read: Rodgers & Green Bay prepare to do it the hard way

Brady won the first six meetings and he leads the series 11-5. They're tied 2-2 in the playoffs with Manning winning the last two, including the AFC championship game two years ago.

Some of the best individual rivalries from the other sports:

ALI-FRAZIER: Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fought three times, including two of the most famous matches ever. Frazier defended his heavyweight championship with a unanimous decision over Ali in 1971 at Madison Square Garden in the "Fight of the Century." Ali won the rematch by decision in 1974. Then came "The Thrilla in Manila" in 1975. Ali won on a TKO after 14 rounds. Honorable mentions: Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran, Ray Robinson vs. Jake LaMotta.

CHAMBERLAIN-RUSSELL: Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell went head-to-head 142 times over a decade from 1959-1969. Russell's Boston Celtics beat Chamberlain's teams 85 games. Chamberlain shattered records. Russell collected championship banners, winning nine to Chamberlain's one. Honorable mention: Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson.

NICKLAUS-PALMER: Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer turned golf into a popular spectator sport on television. Nicklaus holds the record with 18 majors while Palmer captured seven in his career. They finished 1-2 four times in majors. Honorable mention: Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson.

FEDERER-NADAL: Roger Federer has a 17-14 edge over Rafael Nadal in career grand slam victories, but the head-to-head rivalry is one-sided. Nadal leads the series 23-11, including a 9-2 record in grand slams. Nadal's victory in the 2008 Wimbledon final is considered one of the best tennis matches in history. Both men also have long rivalries with Novak Djokovic. Honorable mentions: Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova; John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg.

GRETZKY-LEMIEUX: The Great One vs. The Magnificent One. Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux dominated the NHL for two decades with one of the two players winning the scoring title every year between 1980 and 1997 except for one season. They never faced each other in the playoffs, however. Honorable mention: Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin.

DIMAGGIO-WILLIAMS: Joltin' Joe vs. The Splendid Splinter. Yankees-Red Sox had to make the baseball list. Ted Williams remains the last player to hit over .400, but his tremendous 1941 season was overshadowed by Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Williams won two AL MVP awards and two triple crowns, but no World Series titles. DiMaggio was a three-time MVP who won nine World Series championships with New York. Honorable mention: Willie Mays vs. Mickey Mantle.

MESSI-RONALDO: The two best soccer players in the world play in the same league for two powerhouse teams. Since the Ballon d'Or was first awarded to the world's top player in 2010, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the only men to win it (Messi, 2010-12, 2015; Ronaldo 2013-14). In 2008, Ronaldo won the FIFA player of the year award, and Messi won in 2009. Messi's Barcelona team club won the UEFA championship last season, and Ronaldo's Real Madrid has not won the Spanish league since 2012, giving Messi some recent bragging rights. Internationally, Messi and Argentina lost to Germany in the finals of the World Cup, while Portugal and Ronaldo failed to get out of the group stage.

- AP


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