Ali and Frazier. Evert and Navratilova. Charles Barkley and a golf club. The greatest sports rivalries of the past have always been about two absolute alphas duking it out in the arena — and in the case of Ali and Frazier, literally. What makes those conflicts so compelling is the even footing. There was always a chance that Venus would down her sister Serena, or that Manning would torpedo Brady. (Peyton, not Eli; Eli already owns Brady.) It’s that complex balance that makes rivalries so exciting and enticing — you never know who’s going to come out on top.
This rivalry has none of that. Granted, this is not your normal athlete versus athlete matchup: Superstar QB Aaron Rodgers is known for artfully zipping passes around the football field every Sunday in the fall and winter, for reading defenses as quickly as an over-caffeinated auctioneer reads off bids, and for being the general envy of every red-blooded American who ever stepped onto the playing field with dreams of glory. Colin Jost — well, Jost cracks jokes on a fake news show every weekend and sometimes goes on late-night talk shows to talk about how he cracks jokes on a fake news show every weekend.
Given the overlap there is these days between sports and entertainment, it would only make sense to pit these two athlete-tainers (we can make up words along with our rivalries, right?) against each other. Charismatic athletes are encroaching on entertainers’ turf and doing a hell of a job of it. But when IZOD decided to give Jost his own commercial spot, it seemed downright unfair that they introduced Rodgers halfway through. There was Jost, minding his own business and driving a golf ball off a tee set on the back of a wood-paneled speedboat in the middle of a pristine alpine lake hanging with some models before being teleported to a backyard football game with…more models. And then Rodgers has to step in with his kilowatt smile and glass-cutting chin and steal the spotlight from poor Jost. What’s Rodgers going to do next? Go from playing in a season opening game to stealing Jost’s Emmy hosting duty?
Of course, now we can only imagine what would happen if we really were to see the battle between Jost and Rodgers go down. Who would win? Would Jost have a fighter’s chance in staving off Rodgers’ personal magnetism? Whose team are you on, #TeamJost or #TeamRodgers? Play along in our mind exercise in this battle of the greats — after all, this isn’t nearly the wildest fictitious rivalry we could have proposed.
Here’s how we think the duo matches up, on and off-screen:
We’re not even going to fool around here. Sure, Jost doesn’t look like a complete yokel swinging a golf club and he can run a few feet without tripping over himself, but Rodgers has built a distinguished career dodging marauding linebackers only to hit wide receivers in stride — all while playing in the frozen tundra of northern Wisconsin.
Advantage: Rodgers, by at least 100 yards.
This is Jost’s calling card and it’d be a shame if we didn’t give him one thing over his (fictitious) rival. Even though Rodgers can disarm reporters at the post-game podium and hold his own in commercial cameos, even we have to admit that Jost has a natural charm that comes through loud and clear.
Advantage: Jost, begrudgingly.
If we’re going with straight, “who wore it best” metrics here, then we’d have to go with Jost by a nose. But there’s something inherently rugged about Rodgers that adds an intangible asset to the IZOD wardrobe. His flannel and vest say “conscientious lumberjack,” while Jost’s look says “urban forager.” I think you know where we stand.
Advantage: Rodgers, by some whiskers.
September is a big month for Jost and Rodgers, of course, so we’re thinking about which of these two guys is going to make a bigger splash when sweater weather rolls around. All eyes are on Rodgers with the start of football season, but given Jost landed hosting duties for the television’s biggest awards show, you’d have to think the comic will have the potential to dominate news cycles and watercooler talk on a larger scale than Rodgers. We’ll give the nod to Jost here.
Advantage: Jost, by an Emmy statue.
You may not have asked for this rivalry, but it’s here. And why limit ourselves to just this rivalry, when this opens a whole new world of creative throw-downs outside the world of professional sports? We’re looking forward to the next generation of nemeses meeting each other and answering questions like: Who is better at chess, Abraham Lincoln or Genghis Khan? Who would win in a fight between Godzilla and one thousand Hulk Hogans? And who is the better race car driver, Beethoven or Leonardo Da Vinci? Everything is possible with a little commercial magic — even Colin Jost being good at football.