Super Bowl Tickets: Who do you Want To See Play?

Eight playoff teams remain, meaning the Super Bowl picture remains fuzzy at best. One 80-yard dash by Demaryius Thomas, another multi-pick game from Jabari Green, or a near perfect game by Eli Manning could drastically alter the picture. Yet, it is fun to take a look at the Divisional Playoff round, a round in which March Madness-like upsets still seem possible, and decide what would be the most entertaining Super Bowl matchup.

History has demonstrated that though the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 is the most important game of the 2011-2012 NFL season, it is guaranteed to be the most entertaining. Thus, in search of a fun topic in the face of frivolous analysis derived from the same three sources, let’s have a completely inane discussion for pure entertainment value.

The AFC and the NFC each have four teams remaining. The AFC has the Denver Broncos playing the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans visiting the Baltimore Ravens. This may be unnecessary, but the Patriots-Broncos game already has the most pre-game buzz. Tebow and Brady are quarterbacks of a remarkably different ilk. One was anointed Football Jesus before taking that first snap and sprinting for the first down marker. The other emerged as one of the most poignant starters in the league from the deep dark bottom of the draft. One team seemingly has religion on its side while the other has a coach closely associated with the Antichrist. One is an upstart and the other entered the season with fans saving for Super Bowl tickets.

The other game is the Texans versus the Ravens. An unseasoned quarterback versus a superb defense and an astonishing dull quarterback versus an underrated defense, this is bound to a dull exposition of the history of the running game in the NFL. For my money the most exciting team to emerge from this field is the Denver Broncos. The Patriots have been in the Super Bowl far too often in the 21st century to remain an interesting story. Really the only advantage to a Patriots appearance is the obligatory cutaways to Giselle Bundchen and her thoroughly confused, soccer loving family.

The NFC has the New York Giants traveling to Lambeau Field to play the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints heading west to play the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers-Giants game is the more appealing of the two. The Packers are in search of the first repeat Super Bowl victories since the Patriots. It is always fun to see a team trying to establish a dynasty. The Giants are just fun to root for because of that legendary Super Bowl XLII performance.

Meanwhile, the Saints-49ers game should be more entertaining. It is an explosive offense vs. a stingy defense. It is a classic battle, but is better suited for theoretical discussions than watching the real thing because the 49ers quarterback is Alex Smith. So, which of these four teams would be most fun to watch in the Super Bowl? Thought I was going to say the Packers? Wrong, and that is not just because I am a Bears fan. No, it is the Saints because a Saints-Broncos game would end in Tim Tebow’s demise and would set up a huge storyline next season, a battle royal between the Saints and Packers for the domination of the NFC. When thinking of the best possible game, always think of its place in history.

The Seven Seals of an NFL Apocalypse

The NFL is entering a new era when quarterbacks have more fantasy value than running backs, home field is not that big of a deal (the home team only wins 54 percent of the time this season), and parity has dissipated as nine of the 32 teams in the league have either no losses or no wins. Yes this is a new age in the league and there are seven football seals that have been broken this season to put an end to everything we knew about football.

First Seal: Conquest

Cedric Benson of the Cincinnati Bengals is leading the league in rushing. Yes, Cedric Benson that could not figure out that at 5 foot 11 and 225 pounds he could not nimbly dance around defenders. This is not say that he has conquered anything, but to say that passing and running back tandems have become far more important than having a feature running back, making Adrian Peterson even more of a freak.

Second Seal: War

The Cleveland Browns have two quarterbacks fighting to ineptly lead the Browns offense. It has gotten so bad that there has been discussion of special teams maestro Josh Cribbs taking over at quarterback because he played quarterback back in Pop Warner. The poor Cleveland dog pound has survived the departure of the original Browns and now they are fighting over who will lead this terrible team to a quasi-respectable regular season finish.

Third Seal: Famine

In this age of gimmicky offenses and quarterback supremacy somehow two teams cannot even average 10 points a game. The Oakland Raiders average just 9.8 points a game and are still not the worst offense in the league. The St. Louis Rams are only putting up 6.8 points a game. How can a league built to allow so much scoring have two teams that cannot manage to score double digits consistently?

Fourth Seal: Death

Al Davis is doing all he can to kill any proof that the Raiders were once a respectable football franchise that once won three Super Bowls in nine seasons. Anyone born after 1990 must think that Raiders have always been cursed. The 48-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers erased any inkling of respectability for the franchise. They will not even replace JaMarcus Russell when he shown no signs of playing better than his 47.1 quarterback rating. At least the Cleveland Browns are giving somebody else a chance to not lead the team down the field.

Fifth Seal: Visions of Martyrs

Terrell Owens has only 12 receptions, 202 yards, and a touchdown through five games. He used to get those kinds of stats in a single game with Romo throwing the ball in Dallas. Yet, Owens has not thrown quarterback Trent Edwards under the bus since the first week of the season. The only thing that could have compelled him to keep his mouth shut is that visions of respected elderly NFL statesmen like Lynn Swann and Jerry Rice must have told him to be quiet and accept the situation he has created for himself. I refuse to believe that he has suddenly become humble…or responsible.

Sixth Seal: Earthquake and Marking of the 144,000

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has heard the pounding of an earthquake this season as he has been sacked 20 times in four games and the Packers are only 2-2 in a season in which they were supposed to win the NFC North. The city of Green Bay may not have 144,000 residents, but it has 100,353 and that is the number of fans who are wondering if the front office made a mistake letting Brett Favre go, especially now that he is leading the 5-0 Minnesota Vikings.

Seventh Seal: Trumpets of the Angels and the End of the World

The Denver Broncos are 5-0 with a quarterback with half the arm of Jay Cutler and much of the same defense that was just so bad a season ago. Josh McDaniels even managed to beat his old boss Belichick. This is either a storyline from heaven for the Denver area and NFL reporters who were bored of covering the same old teams or the end of the world for the Patriots as one of their own has finally threatened to destroy their 21st century domination in a year meant to be “The Return of Tom Brady.”

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The AFC Postseason in the Post-Patriots Season

Two months ago, the AFC was written off to the New England Patriots. Then Tom Brady went down with a season-ending injury and it was like a completely different universe was born.

In the Bizarro AFC the Miami Dolphins are in the running for a wild card spot. The AFC East is up for grabs between the New York Jets, the Dolphins Wildcat Attack, and, yes, the Patriots. The Jets have Brett Favre working his magic and keeping Madden’s hope alive that he will get to say his name at least once a week without appearing obsessed. The Dolphins have shown that if you have three NFL running backs it is possible to make a high school offense work. The Patriots have somehow managed to find another quarterback in Matt Cassel.

The AFC North is a battle between the ailing Pittsburgh Steelers and the young and surprisingly scoring proficient Baltimore Ravens. Rookie Joe Flacco has suddenly given the Ravens an offense that does not always pressure them to give up less than 10 points. The Steelers have had to deal with a complete lack of an offensive line that has suddenly made Ben Roethlisberger relive some rookie nightmares.

The AFC South is safely in the hand of the Tennessee Titans. The only perfect team left has the advantage of playing a year that has found the Colts offense looking human. Peyton Manning has been waking up of late and making the reads that made him so deadly in the past. The Jacksonville Jaguars are far from making a run, but could play the role of spoiler down the stretch.

The AFC West is wild, again. The Denver Broncos score as much out of glee as necessity. The defense couldn’t hold a 30-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Chargers are within striking distance, but have fallen to injury and their normal inability to make good on their potential.

The AFC looks like the only sure division winner is the Tennessee Titans, with the Jets, Dolphins, Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Colts, Broncos, and Chargers all within reach of the postseason. Fans will be searching those Titans tickets to see if they could beceom the second consecutive team to finish 16-0, Steelers tickets to see if they can overcome a season hindered by injuries, or Broncos tickets to simply see the team shoot for 40 points every game.