As the AFC and NFC Championships take place, let’s take a look at some of the great story lines that could emerge.
For the Giants, the story is obviously “Can Eli Manning beat his brother with a second Super Bowl win… IN the House That Peyton Built?” This is sure to get some publicity if it were to happen, as Peyton Manning is sure to be the talk of the offseason as well. It is highly unlikely he will get another ring, so if Eli grabs his second in the Colts’ stadium, little brother will have bragging rights for life.
Another Giant-related story line would be if the Patriots advance to play them. This would be a re-match of the epic 2008 game, one of the greatest upsets in all of sports history. Can the Patriots get revenge? Or, like the Packers this past weekend, do the Giants just have their number?
The other Patriots story is Tom Brady’s legacy. If he can get a fourth Super Bowl ring, he will cement his place in history along side the greats, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, the only other quarterbacks with four. Brady still has some years left as well, so his future quest will be to try to be the first quarterback in history with five rings.
Similarly, Bill Belichick would be looking to tie former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll with four Lombardi Trophies. Not that he needs much more recognition, but this would also cement his standing among the greatest coaches of all time.
Switching back to the NFC, if the 49ers do beat New York at home this weekend, they would advance to their sixth Super Bowl. They are a perfect 5-0 in those games and would be looking to keep up that success and tie the Steelers for most wins all time. San Francisco would be looking to do all this with a team that was 6-10 a year ago, a first year head coach, and a quarterback previously labeled “bust.” The story line for them is clearly, “Can they really keep it going? Can this miracle season really end in a Super Bowl win?” After seeing the game Jim Harbaugh coached last week against the Saints, nothing would surprise me.
Speaking of Jim Harbaugh, he could end up playing his brother, John, if the Ravens can beat the Patriots and advance to the big game. The Harbaugh Bowl would be the first time two brother head coaches faced each other for the ultimate prize. This, to me, would be the most interesting and unique story line of the bunch. The Harbaughs faced off earlier in the year, when John and the Ravens handed Jim and the 49ers one of their three losses of the season. Can Jim Harbaugh return the favor, and take home the trophy?
If not, the Ravens will be crowned for the second time in their history, and likely Ray Lewis and Ed Reed can walk away from the game as champions. These two players have redefined their positions in this game, and will surely go down in history as one of, if not the best to ever play those positions. The Ravens defense will never be the same without these two, and it will end an era that gave a franchise an identity that it desperately needed, and should probably hold onto the same way the Steelers have held onto their identity since the Steel Curtain days.
With all of this said, I want to hear from you. Which story line do you want to see? What matchup are you most interested in?