“The Match” Begins In Las Vegas

By Terrance Turner

June 1, 2022

NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers faced off against Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes in “The Match”, a round of golf brought to you by Capital One. The golf match began at 5:30 pm CST on TNT, at Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas. The match will be 12 holes (seven of which will have challenges built in for charitable donations, per Yahoo! News.)

Players will be equipped with open mics and the ability to communicate with both competitors and commentators, per CNN. Brady is making his third appearance at The Match; Rodgers is on his second go-round. Allen and Mahomes are the newcomers — and underdogs.

Brady began his remarkable career in 2000 with the New England Patriots. After starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured in 2001, Brady took over. Brady took over as the starter, and though the Patriots lost that night, they would win 11 of their next 14 games with Brady at the helm. He led them to the 2002 Super Bowl, where they scored an upset victory against the St. Louis Rams. (They won 20-17, according to the San Francisco Gate.) At 24, Brady became the youngest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

Brady helped the Patriots earn back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 2004 and 2005. He became the youngest quarterback ever to win two Super Bowls and was awarded his second Super Bowl MVP trophy. Brady led the Patriots to back-to-back 12-4 seasons in 2013 and 2014, then fought his back to the “big dance” — and won. In a streak as spectacular as it was improbable, Brady won Super Bowl titles in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021. (The last one came with his current team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.)

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Rodgers was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2005 after transferring from Butte Community College to the University of California. He began as a backup quarterback under Brett Favre, then became the starter in 2008. In 2010, he led the Packers to a 10-6 record and a 48-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs — the most points scored in Packers postseason history. Green Bay won the Super Bowl, giving Rodgers his first (and only) NFL championship.

Rodgers was named AP Male Athlete of the Year in 2011. Rodgers received 112 votes out of the 212 ballots submitted from U.S. news organizations that make up the AP’s membership. Through 14 games that season, Rodgers completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 4,360 yards with 40 touchdowns and six interceptions while leading the Packers to a 13-1 record. He is the reigning NFL MVP.

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Josh Allen grew up on his family’s cotton farm in California. He graduated from the University of Wyoming and played college football there; he was named a bowl game MVP. He was drafted in early 2018 by the Buffalo Bills. The Bills finished the 2018 season with a 6-10 record. Allen ended the season as the team’s leading rusher and owns the most rushing yards in a single season by a QB in franchise history, according to ABC7. But he did have the lowest completion percentage among NFL quarterbacks.

The Bills went 10-6 in 2019, though Allen again had the lowest completion percentage in the league (58.8%). He led the team to its highest win total of the 21st century. But they lost their playoff match against the Houston Texans, who came back from down 16-0 to win in overtime, 22-19. Allen had a breakout season in 2020, earning a Pro Bowl berth and being named the AFC Offensive Player of the week four times. He led the Bills to their division title and first playoff victory since 1995 (the Bills beat the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round). He then powered the Bills to back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 2021 and 2022.

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Mahomes, 26, was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017. He racked up 76 touchdowns and only 18 interceptions in three seasons as a Chief. After being named 2018 NFL MVP, he overcame a frightening midseason injury (a dislocated kneecap) and not only survived the 2019 season but helped power the Chiefs to a 12-4 record. Then he and the Chiefs battled other AFC standouts in the postseason. They overcame three straight double-digit deficits in the playoffs. After stunning the Texans in a come-from-behind win, they rallied to beat the Titans in the AFC Championship. (It was the first AFC Championship Game since 2010 not to include Tom Brady.)

In February 2020, the Chiefs won the Super Bowl in rather memorable fashion. Down 20-10 with only six minutes left, Mahomes rallied and led the team to score 21 unanswered points — including two touchdowns by running back Damien Williams. Mahomes, who is biracial, is only the third black quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl. His performance earned him the honor of being named Super Bowl MVP. Mahomes led the Chiefs to a second consecutive Super Bowl in 2021 (though they lost to the Brady-led Buccaneers).

The trash-talking started early: Allen said he was using a golf ball with Brady’s NFL Combine photo on it — an infamous 2000 photo that displayed Brady as pudgy and shapeless. Brady still dislikes the picture, which might bring back memories of his low draft stock. Brady responded by using a ball that had the Lombardi Trophy pictured on it. “Have you ever seen one of these before, Josh?” he asked. “Do you know what this is?” Allen is the only quarterback of the four who has yet to win a Super Bowl.

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Brady and Rodgers won the first round. They won the second, too, finishing up by two. Mahomes and Allen won the third hole to pull within one, and neither team led by more than one the rest of the way. The putter was the magic club for Mahomes throughout. He poured (and walked) them in from all over the yard as his squad tied Brady and Rodgers on the fifth. 

Interviewed just before the 9th hole, Brady said he’s planning on watching the upcoming college softball tournament. He said he grew up with three sisters and that softball games were a big part of his early childhood. “I used to be known as Noreen Brady’s little brother. I said, one day they’re going to be known as Tom Brady’s big sisters.” He joked that now he and his siblings are just known as the mother and uncle of Maya Brady (who’s competing in the softbal tournament).

On that ninth hole, both Allen and Mahomes hit great shots – both balls landed within striking distance of the flag. Brady was just a little short. Rodgers topped him by getting near the green, too. Through it all, the commentator team (led in part by former NBA player Charles Barkley and current Cardinals DE J.j. Watt) had a field day talking about Barkley’s golf game (or lack thereof).

“I get emotional when I play bad. I might use some profanity. Might break a club or too,” Barkley said. Allen just missed the hole on his swing. “I think Aaron’s a good putter, so he should go with this instincts here,” one commentator said — just as Rogers started sinking a putt. “That putt just got a lot longer, Pat,” he said, applying pressure. But Mahomes met the moment by making his shot, too. He and Allen remained 1 up.

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Aaron Rodgers made a 15-foot putt on the final hole to give his team the victory. Officially, that putt on the 12th and final hole gave Rodgers and Tom Brady a 1-up victory over Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in The Match, a made-for-TV golf event that was played Wednesday in Las Vegas.

“I felt really good about it, to be honest,” Rodgers said of the winning putt. “Tommy gave me a great read and I heard Trevor [Immelman] and Charles [Barkley] in my head telling me they thought I was going to make it. I felt good about the line, and when I hit it I knew It was going in.”

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