Tiger Woods is pulling for Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLVIII

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

Peyton Manning has come back from as many surgeries on his certain Hall-of-Fame neck (four) as Tiger Woods has had on his legendary knees.

Tiger Woods and Tom Brady are often paired together as the best in their respective sports as each first-ballot Hall-of-Famer makes the turn to the back nine of his lustrous career.

As far as Tiger’s concerned, though, he has far more in common with another gridiron legend who happens to be Brady’s closest rival and Woods’ choice for Super Bowl XLVIII MVP.

"I like the Broncos," Woods told reporters ahead of Thursday’s kickoff to the Dubai Desert Classic and Sunday’s heavyweight clash between Denver’s high-flying offense and the Seattle Seahawks’ bone-crushing D.

"I'm good friends with Peyton [Manning]," Woods said about the Broncos’ 2013 record-setting QB who, like the 14-time major champion, has withstood his share of skepticism following multiple potentially career-ending surgeries and a change of teams.

Woods and girlfriend Lindsey Vonn appeared on the sidelines for a November "Sunday Night Football" game at Mile High.

"Peyton is one of my good buddies and let's be honest, he got scrutinized pretty hard when he left Indy that he would never be the same after his neck surgery. And it's right, he's not the same, he's better. And that's cool to see," Woods said. "That's cool to see the hard work that he put in to shut everybody up."

Wood comes under intense examination himself every time he tees it up, especially during the five-plus years he has misfired in his attempts to win his 15th major, and after submitting a bowser of a game as he did on Saturday at Torrey Pines. So the 38-year-old with four knee surgeries and 79 PGA Tour wins to his name shares a kinship with Manning, who in the past has had a reputation for puking on his shoes in big games.

Not so much these days for Eli’s 37-year-old big brother, who has one Super Bowl ring to Brady’s three and is down 10-5 in head-to-head matchups. Manning, however, who has handed Brady and his mates their helmets in their two most recent AFC Championship showdowns, received his walking papers two years ago from the Indianapolis Colts after undergoing four procedures on his neck.

One place where Manning and Woods do not coincide is in this week’s oddsmakers’ books. Thanks to his career-first 54-hole missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open on Saturday after carding a 79, Tiger has been dropped from his usual top spot and is playing second fiddle to Rory McIlroy as the handicappers’ pick to win it all at Emirates Golf Club.

Manning, on the other hand, enters the big game Sunday in the Meadowlands as the prohibitive favorite to lift his second Lombardi Trophy.

Meanwhile, as Manning basks in the adulation of Super Bowl glory for perhaps the final time (depending on how his postseason physical goes), his former nemeses, Brady and Bill Belichick, have committed to tee it up in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am starting the Monday after Super Sunday.

Both pigskin legends are semi-regular contestants in the Super Bowl as well as at Pebble, and Manning has been known to knock a few dimpled orbs around the storied links too. Peyton, like Tiger, who is likely to take a pass on Pebble for the second straight year, will no doubt be otherwise occupied when Coach Hoodie and QB12 take the field in the star-studded, grins and giggles portion of the tour festivities.

Belichick said, after losing to Manning in the AFC Championship Game, that he would "take all my frustrations out at Pebble Beach."

Woods, by the way, will probably be a no-show at the WGC-Accenture Match Play later next month as well, according to ESPN.com’s Bob Harig, who believes the world No. 1 will take a month off after his stint at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and up to a four-week break after the Masters in April.

"The year basically gets pretty congested starting at the British Open," Woods said after Wednesday’s pro-am in the Middle East. "I take [the week of the Canadian Open] off but then it's Firestone [WGC-Bridgestone Invitational], then a week off, then all four playoff events, and then for the Americans there's a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup every year."

Several players -- including Steve Stricker, Adam Scott, and Phil Mickelson -- have recently begun to follow Woods’ lead in reducing their regular-season schedules to get ready for the four majors.

"And now with this new [PGA TOur] wraparound schedule going on," Woods added, "I think we're all trying to get our heads literally wrapped around it and trying to get a feel for it. It's very different."

Woods has won the match play event three times but since Tucson’s Dove Mountain has hosted the contest beginning in 2009, he has lost twice in the opening round. While Woods has not officially said he’ll miss the match play, Scott and Mickelson have.

Harig believes Woods’ next three pre-Augusta starts will be at the Honda Classic, after which he’ll try to defend his 2013 WGC-Cadillac Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational titles.

More from SB Nation Golf:

Rory McIlroy's favored over Tiger Woods in Dubai

Tiger works out too much and is too big, says ex-coach Hank Haney

Tiger puts Torrey flop behind him

Phil Mickelson hopes back allows him to play in Phoenix

Is Tiger's tank job reason to panic? | Reviewing the Torrey implosion

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