Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer talk Tom Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry

Jim Rogash

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus personify rivalry in sports, so it makes sense that the two former adversaries would have something to say about Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning renew their storied rivalry when the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos visit the AFC East-leading  New England Patriots in Foxboro on Sunday Night Football.

With both NFL superstars getting on (Brady’s 36, Manning, 37), Brady-Manning XIV could be one of the final times fans get to witness the future Hall of Famers go at it in what’s sure to be yet another classic showdown between two of the best flingers of the pigskin.

The hype for the game, despite the fact that the men of the hour won’t actually go head-to-head on the field, is so thick you could cut it with a sand wedge. Since Tom v. Peyton is right up there in the annals of sports rivalries, along with Red Sox-Yankees, Celtics-Lakers, Michigan-Ohio State, Palmer-Nicklaus, who better to discuss the competition than Arnie and Jack?

"When I first started playing against Arnold, my goal was to beat him and become the best I could be," Nicklaus says in a video promoting Sunday’s 14th showdown between Brady and Manning. "If that meant dethroning 'The King,' then that was what I had to do."

Jack, who kicked off his rivalry with Arnie, 10 years his senior, when he beat him at the 1962 U.S. Open for his first PGA Tour win, meant business.

"When we got paired together, we wanted to beat each other so bad the first thing you forgot there was a golf tournament," Nicklaus recalls. "We’d end up beating each other’s brains out and somebody else would come along and win the golf tournament."

Palmer concurs.

"We competed against each other with the total intent to beat each other," says Arnold.

The pair discuss Sunday night’s matchup as well, with Nicklaus getting off the best crack about the Pats QB12, a sixth-round draft pick from his own school's primary antagonist.

"I think Brady’s terrific, and that’s for a Michigan man," quips the 18-time major champion with an honorary doctorate from Ohio State.

For the record, Nicklaus’s 18 majors trumped the seven that Palmer won, and Brady has three Super Bowl rings to Manning’s one. But who’s counting?

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