The final two games before the Super Bowl are here, and we have great matchups heading into Sunday. Come Monday morning we will be hit with a media blitz of every storyline imaginable for two weeks. With four teams left, what are all the scenarios that we could see play out?
One of the major storylines of any Super Bowl is always the quarterbacks, and these four don’t lack any drama at all. Tom Brady could make great strides forward as the greatest of all time. This would give him his fourth Super Bowl win, and with Peyton Manning benched all season with as many neck surgeries as Brady has rings, Brady is up against history as his march to become the G.O.A.T. Speaking of Mannings, Eli could essentially move to at least the same conversation with, if not ahead of, older brother Peyton with a Super Bowl win, making him one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Joe Flacco has caught some – well, we will call it flak – from teammate Ed Reed this week for some of his decisions in the Texans game. I personally think a little too much is being made of Reed’s comments, but a win would definitely secure Flacco as a franchise quarterback. Alex Smith is another interesting story – a guy who earlier this season was even rumored to not be with the 49ers next year could lead them to their first Super Bowl win since 1990.
So what about the match up storylines? If the 49ers and the Ravens make it, we are looking at the Harbaugh Bowl, with brothers John and Jim facing off. This would be the first Super Bowl as head coaches for either one of the coaches as well as a Super Bowl trip for Jim in his rookie season as a head coach in the NFL. This game would scare me a little bit, as it could be a repeat of the BCS National Championship between Alabama and LSU with all defense. Has a kicker ever won Super Bowl MVP?
Another scenario we could see would be New England versus San Francisco. This one would be interesting, with two storied franchises with more Lombardi trophies than you can count between them. How can you not think about a team that basically ruled the 80s taking on the team the ruled the 2000s playing it out in the big one? While the Niners haven’t been to the big one in nearly two decades, the Pats have been absent since 2007. Another storyline out of this one would be the gritty veteran coach Bill Belichick taking on the rookie Jim Harbaugh. Could this be a changing of the guard in coaching hierarchy? This game would a tortoise versus the hare type of match up, where the Niners like to play a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race type of game and the Patriots just want to put up as many points as they can.
If the Giants are to come out of the NFC to take on the Ravens, we are looking at a rematch of Super Bowl XXXV where the Ravens thumped the G-Men 34-7. This would feature two tough defenses and would bring things around full circle for Ray Lewis if this was to unfold. Lewis won MVP in that previous Super Bowl, and one couldn’t help but think that this might be his last. This is an interesting one for me, but it would make for an exciting one that would probably be played out in the trenches.
Now I would be beside myself to mention Super Bowl rematches and not talk about the one on everybody’s mind, Giants vs. Patriots. This is the one the public wants to see: the rematch between Brady and Eli. The Giants who stopped the Patriots from going 19-0, the ones who brought the Pats to a skid from not only their undefeated season but also their dominance, as they have not been to a Super Bowl since. I don’t know if I can even fathom how big this one would be, but think Ali, Frazier, Sopranos season 2, and Return of the Jedi all in one. While most Pats fans are champing at the bit to get a shot at the Giants and prove that the Tyree helmet catch was nothing more than a fluke, I say buyer beware. The run the Giants are on right now is eerily similar to the one in ‘07 where the Giants had to win three games to get there. It is also playing out like the Packers run from last year where they barely made the playoffs, only to get hot at the right time and bring home the hardware.
I know I have been gone for a while and thanks for being patient – let’s just say that I have been experiencing technical difficulties. So stay tuned for next week (hopefully I get my laptop back). And which story do you want to hear for the next two weeks?