Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in a unique position as underdogs

Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in a unique position as underdogs

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The Match franchise, the modern campy telethon where birdies and jokes are on equal footing, has raised $33 million for various charities and donated 17 million meals to Feeding America. Sixth installment kicks off June 1st at the Wynn Golf Club on the Las Vegas Strip.

This co-creator and producer of The Match, Bryan Zuriff, best known for his work on the Showtime series Ray Donovan, completely abandoned professional golfers. He cooked up an all-NFL quarterback scrimmage pitting future first-ballot Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers against next-gen gunslingers Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in a 12-hole golf duel. .

“I don’t like to make projections, but I think this might be the most-watched match to date,” said Zuriff, praising the work of Turner Sports, which broadcasts the event on TNT and also simulcasts it. on truTV and HLN. promoting the event.

“I think they realize they have something really special, to have these four challenging American athletes in one place at one time,” he adds.

The genesis of this edition came as Zuriff watched the Bills and Chiefs square off in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. Led by their respective flaggers, the two teams combined for 25 points in the final two minutes of regulation to send the whopper off with a shootout in overtime.

“When Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes had that epic football game, that’s when it hit me. I immediately texted the network and said we had to do something with those guys,” recalls Zuriff.

Although both are incredible athletes with a genuine passion for golf, neither has yet achieved a major competitive triumph. Playing in his second American Century Classic last August, Mahomes finished tied for 50and and Josh Allen, teaming with Keith Mitchell, missed the cut in his AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am debut last January. Zuriff is quick to point out that it was just after football season and he hadn’t touched a golf club in weeks.

While the Brady and Rodgers tandem are the clear favorites and have previous match experience to draw on, anything can happen in 12 holes and it would be foolish to overlook beginners’ chances.

“They hit the ball. They hit it as far as the pros. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen literally hit the planet. Now let’s hope they hit straight, but they hit far. Their power is going to be very impressive. These guys work there. They want to win so badly. They want to beat these guys,” says Zuriff, who compares the atmosphere between competitors to sibling rivalry.

Looking ahead, an all-NBA edition seems like a slam dunk and is being considered, but there are plenty of other options on the drawing board, including looking into Formula 1 with the aim of growing the brand at the international. Outside the US, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports platforms including Discovery+, Eurosport app, Eurosport 2 and GOLFTV are hosting next week’s event.

Another direction they’re open to exploring is casting successful movie stars who play golf, a list that includes Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. Perhaps a Marvel vs DC clash or a battle of dudes who donned the Batman cowl could be in order?

Phil’s Return

Phil Mickelson, who skipped his defense of the PGA Championships and has been MIA since his controversial leaked remarks regarding the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, could also make a return to The Match, an event in which he has played a vital role from the start. He played in the first four iterations and showed off his commentary skills in Brooks Koepka’s one-on-one against Bryson DeChambeau last year.

“Phil has obviously been an amazing partner for a long time and still is, he’s just taking a break. I’ve spoken with him and he’s doing great and he’s enjoying his time off. He’s taking a break from his life and redefining his priorities, but it’s a project he loves and cares about,” says Zuriff.

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