By Jack Bantock and Andy Scholes, CNN
(CNN) — There may be another 100 days to go until the start of the NFL season, but fans will still be able to get their football fix on Wednesday when four of the league’s top quarterbacks swap the gridiron for the golf course.
Featuring four of the past five years’ MVPs, the sixth edition of “the Match” will see veteran signal-callers Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers face off against young stars Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in Las Vegas.
Set to tee off at 6:30 p.m. ET, the 12-hole event at Wynn Golf Club will see all players equipped with open mics and the ability to communicate with competitors and commentators, a tradition with potentially devastating consequences for this year’s iteration.
The trash talking between the two sets of teams began immediately after the line-up was announced in April, with Allen stoking the fire by tweeting that the match-up would be between “old bulls” and “young calves.”
Seven-time Super Bowl winner Brady jabbed back immediately at the Buffalo Bills quarterback, 18 years his junior, with the teams’ back-and-forth continuing all the way to the eve of the showdown.
“We’re going be in their heads and we’re going to force them to hit a couple shanks and miss a couple putts, I guarantee that,” Allen said.
“Once Tom’s script from his team runs out of jokes, I don’t think he’s going to be able to think on his feet like that.”
Allen’s partner, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Mahomes, believes that the pair’s friendship gives them the edge over their older foes.
Barring a practice round, the young duo have never played golf together, but trips to the Masters together have helped build a chemistry that could prove decisive in a high-stakes clash.
“If we lose to those guys, they will never let us live it down,” Mahomes told CNN Sport’s Andy Scholes.
“It’s going to be me and Josh just being ourselves. If we’re out anywhere, we’re talking trash no matter what the sport is and having some fun.
“So we’re going to go ahead and beat the two big heavyweights, as they would say, and I’m sure they’ll want a rematch after tomorrow.”
A combined 82 years of life experience for Brady and Rodgers has shone through in the older pair’s fighting talk, with three-time MVP Rodgers dismissing any notion of “a couple of old school grizzled vets” being bested in a war of words.
On their own
Playing alongside Bryson DeChambeau, the Green Bay Packers signal caller was victorious in last year’s edition of the event against Brady and Phil Mickelson.
Having suffered defeat in his previous two appearances at “The Match,” Brady is coming out swinging.
“Josh really hasn’t backed much up on the football field in his career, let’s be honest,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback quipped. “Especially playing against me.”
However, Brady admitted to some apprehension ahead of tee-off, with this year’s event the first time that no professional golfers will be involved. It will also be the first time that fans will be in attendance.
“I said ‘Are there caddies out there? Is there anyone that can help us?'” Brady joked. “They [the organizers] were like ‘Nope, you guys are totally on your own.’
“So we’re going be reading each other’s putts. I don’t know if that’s a good thing.”
Even the ‘Grim Reaper’ Mahomes isn’t immune to some pre-tee nerves but believes he has learned from his experiences at the star-studded American Century Championship golf tournament, which he played in at South Lake Tahoe in July 2020.
“I think I’ll be a tad nervous on that first tee,” Mahomes told Scholes. “But once you hit that first drive and you get out there with the guys, you’ll be ready to go.
“I remember at Tahoe, the first one I played out there, I was very nervous and it kind of kept me tight, so I’m gonna try to be loose and go out there and have some fun.”
How to watch
“The Match” will be televised exclusively by TNT, with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET from Wynn Las Vegas.
Turner Sports will be televising “The Match” for the sixth time since the event’s inception in 2018.
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