It might have come a few hours after “Throwback Thursday” ended, but sports fans got an old-school treat on Friday morning that will surely make them nostalgic for the glorious, long-lost days of the mid-2000’s: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will once again face each other in a Grand Slam final.
With that classic matchup about to happen (along with the Williams sisters squaring off in the women's final), it also raises a question: What other sports rivalries do we hope to see play out one final time? Here are 11.
Indiana vs. Kentucky (college basketball regular season)
The bad blood between these two rivals dates back to the Bob Knight era, but the series was discontinued in 2012 when the current coaches couldn’t agree on a format. Indiana wants to play the game on the teams' home courts while John Calipari insists it be at a neutral location.
I’m with Calipari on this one. How cool would it be to see these schools play in front of 40,000 people in a football stadium (like the old days) with half the crowd wearing red and the other side blue? Let’s make it happen!
The fans want it. The fighters want it. We need McGregor-Diaz III.
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLCZuffa LLC via Getty Images
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao (boxing)
The first fight was a total dud, but if they fought again you'd end up buying the pay-per-view. I would too.
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Texas vs. Texas A&M (college football)
College football’s most contentious rivalry was killed by conference realignment, yet somehow has gotten better by not being played over the last few years. Texas has the last win, although A&M has been the far better team since the rivalry ended.
There’s only one way to find out who has the upper-hand moving forward: Decide it on the field.
Bob LeveyGetty Images
Kobayashi vs. Joey Chestnut (professional eating)
These guys are the Wilt and Russell of professional eating, with Kobayashi winning six straight Hot Dog Eating contests from 2001-2006 and Chestnut taking his crown in 2007 and winning nine of the next 10.
I don’t care where they go head-to-head or what they’re eating. I just want to see it again.
Monika GraffMonika Graff
New York Knicks vs. anyone (NBA Finals)
To sports fans who came of age after the '80s Pistons, the Patrick Ewing/Allen Houston/Latrell Sprewell Knicks were the NBA’s resident bad boys and always a threat to make the NBA Finals. Now, not so much.
That’s why we’re so desperate to see the Knicks against anyone in the Finals… because it feels like it might not happen again. Ever.
NBAE/Getty ImagesRocky Widner
Duke vs. Kentucky (NCAA Tournament)
The bluest of college basketball’s blue blood programs have played two of the all-time great games in the NCAA Tournament, with Duke beating Kentucky in the 1992 Elite Eight and the Wildcats getting revenge six years later to advance to the Final Four.
They haven’t played in the NCAA Tournament since (although they nearly met in the 2015 title game). That needs to change. ASAP.
Amy SancettaAmy Sancetta
Nick Saban vs. Urban Meyer (College Football Playoff)
College football’s two best coaches have given us three classics (the 2008 and 2009 SEC title games and the 2014 College Football Playoff semifinal). Can we get at least one more, preferably on the biggest stage?
Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning (Super Bowl)
The Patriots are the most hated team in professional sports and the Giants are the kryptonite that has kept them from winning two more Super Bowls than they already have.Who wouldn’t want to see them play again?
I take that back. Seeing Brady vs. Eli would also mean that the Patriots advance to another Super Bowl, something that I’m pretty sure most of us can live without.
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees (ALCS)
The 2003 and 2004 matchups between these two were epic, when Aaron Bleepin’ Boone broke Boston's heart only for the Red Sox to come back from an 0-3 hole a year later to topple the evil empire.
The regular-season rivalry is heated enough. If these two play again in the postseason, it's must-see television.
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson (Sunday in a major)
Between them they’ve won 19 majors, but none since 2013. Can we get them together on one, final Sunday with a green jacket or Claret Jug on the line?