But for a twist of fate - and a pull of a hamstring - at Franklin Field 52 years ago, Peacock might well have shared the spotlight with Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics.
With the Berlin Olympics just months away, Owens and Peacock prepared for a showdown. Peacock awaited word on whether Owens and his Ohio State team would be running at the Penn Relays or in the Drake Relays in Iowa, because Peacock's own decision lay in the balance.
When he received assurance from Penn officials that Owens would be here, Peacock declared, "The Penn Relays is the place for me."
For these two runners there was one goal: to wear the red, white and blue in Berlin. Owens eventually did just that and became the first athlete to win four gold medals in a single Games. However, to such experts as three-time Olympian Charles Paddock and others, Peacock was the man to beat at the Penn Relays.
Paddock, the master of the flying finish and once hailed as "The World's Fastest Human," saw Peacock as a sure-bet Olympian. "I can only see Peacock as a certain performer in the Games at Berlin," Paddock predicted in July 1935. "I can't help feeling Owens is pretty much burned-out."
Indeed, by the time of the '36 Penn Relays, Peacock had beaten Owens seven times in 10 sprints.
"Jesse and I were very close friends," Peacock recalled in a recent interview. "I remember one time Jesse saying to me, 'Eulie, when we were running, I just got to the point that I couldn't beat you. I could beat them all, but not you.' "
Born in Alabama and raised in Union City, N.J., he was a high school football, basketball and track star who could have gone to almost any university in the nation. He chose Temple and became the greatest Owl in track history, establishing school records of 9.5 seconds for the 100 and 26-3 for the long jump.
In the 100 meters, Peacock tied the world record of that era - 10.3 seconds - on four occasions and also was timed in a wind-aided 10.2. In 1935, as a member of a touring U.S. team, he won 30 of 31 races and field events in Europe; his only loss was in his last race, when he pulled up with a leg cramp in Milan, Italy.
In 1935, he became only the second man to win an American Track and Field Championship double during the Amateur Athletic Union title games in Lincoln, Neb. (William Wilmer did it in 1878, Owens would do it in 1936, and Carl Lewis did it in 1981.)
Penn Relays fans eagerly expected not one showdown at Franklin Field, but four. Peacock and Owens might have been matched in the 100 meters, the long jump, the quarter-mile relay and the 880-yard relay.
Just six days before, Peacock had proved he was ready. Against Pitt, he sprinted to victory in the 100 yards in 9.6 seconds, took the 220-yard dash in 22.1 seconds and won the long jump at 22 feet, 3/4 inch. Penn and Owens were next.
It never happened. First, Ohio State withdrew from the quarter-mile relay. Ironically, it was Peacock's pursuit not of Owens but of a Texan in that race that would end the drama and wipe out Peacock's chances to run in the Olympics.
When Peacock, Temple's anchor, received the baton, he had a huge handicap, a 35-yard deficit, behind University of Texas runner Harvey "Chink" Wallender.
"I thought I could overcome it," Peacock remembered. "That's when I pulled" the right hamstring.
With Wallender supplying the final kick, Texas completed the quarter mile in 41.1 seconds, a Penn Relays record that would last 23 years. Peacock finished second, but his Olympic dream had begun to die before his race had ended.
"It knotted up like somebody grabbed it, and it hurt," Peacock recalled. He hopped off the track and spent the rest of the weekend at Temple University Hospital.
"What can you do? I couldn't shed any tears," Peacock said. "It happened, and that was it. You can't spend your life thinking what could have been. That was the biggest hurt of my career - no Olympics."