nfl playoffs

A Guide To Possible Super Bowl XLVI Matchups

As Championship Sunday looms, it’s time to take a sneak peak at the possible fun that lurks on Super Bowl Sunday.

The four potential meetings are rather intriguing. One would be a rematch of one of the greatest Super Bowls of all-time; another would be a rematch of one of the worst Super Bowls of all-time; then of course, there would be Harbaugh Bowl II; and lastly, a meeting between Tom Brady’s Patriots and little Tom Brady’s favorite team as a kid.

Here is a breakdown of what lies ahead ranked in order of least culturally relevant to “rearrange your social calendar” status.

4. BALTIMORE VS. SAN FRANCISCO

STORYLINES: Yep. The Harbaughs. Again…Two weeks of hearing how smart Alex Smith is and how mediocre Joe Flacco is…Ray Lewis going after his second Super Bowl ring…Jim Harbaugh was the last significant Colts quarterback before Peyton Manning…Ed Reed going after his first Super Bowl ring.

PUBLIC INTEREST: I’m guessing this game would rival the LSU-Alabama BCS title game for the Twitter title of “most boring big game of the year.”

FINAL VERDICT: If it happens, we will either be watching the least interesting Super Bowl quarterback matchup or the worst Super Bowl quarterback matchup ever. Either way, it’s not exactly captivating television. When the Niners and Ravens met last Thanksgiving, I was more enthralled by a two-hour Dancin’ On Air special than the game itself.

3. BALTIMORE VS. NEW YORK 

STORYLINES: We get to see highlights of Super Bowl XXXV all over again…Two weeks of Joe Flacco/Trent Dilfer comparisons…Plenty of Baltimore Colts/Indianapolis Colts talk…There will be frequent appearances by the Mayflower moving company…Eli Manning trying to win a Super Bowl in the big brother’s city of employment…Analysis of the Ray Lewis shuffle versus Victor Cruz’s Salsa Dance.

PUBLIC INTEREST: The Ravens will spend two weeks versus most teams on a quasi-bully pulpit; spouting how they will punish New York’s receivers. This will be quite entertaining. Remember, the Ravens will be an entertaining Super Bowl team…but only if the Giants make it. The New York media and the underrated “we don’t need to be nice if we aren’t playing our head coach’s brother in the Super Bowl” factor will make Baltimore a fun time.

FINAL VERDICT: I wouldn’t revel in watching a game like this. The Giants, and Eli in particular, will be media darlings. Also, watching Flacco play on a big stage will be interesting. The spotlight may shine just as bright on Ray Lewis, who will bask in the glow of reaching another Super Bowl.

2. NEW ENGLAND VS. SAN FRANCISCO

STORYLINES: Tom Brady vs. Joe Montana…Bibi Jones & Rob Gronkowski…Tom Brady’s place in history…Belichick & Brady vs. Walsh & Montana…San Francisco’s D…San Francisco’s glory years…Jim Harbaugh…Vernon Davis, part-time curler…Why did the Niners take Giovanni Carmazzi over Brady…Don’t know if you heard this one before Alex Smith is really smart…Which lesser-regarded unit plays better? New England’s D or San Francisco’s offense.

PUBLIC INTEREST: The anti-Brady/Belichick sentiment will allow the 49ers to gain public support. I think folks will gravitate to the possibility of seeing the Patriots play a defense that actually hits people…really hard.

FINAL VERDICT: Not quite the media home run, but if the Patriots are involved with a newer participant (last 49er SB was in January 1995), people will come around to this one. In addition, all the historic Montana/Brady bits will generate a buzz.

I know I’ll be excited…

https://twitter.com/#!/JoeMsrightarm/status/158383636666781697

1. NEW ENGLAND VS. NEW YORK

STORYLINES: The Helmet Catch Rematch…Belichick & Brady trying to win the Super Bowl in Indy (easily their greatest rival city) versus the younger brother of Peyton Manning…Do the Giants have Tom Brady’s number? New York’s defensive line versus New England’s offensive line…Belichick, greatest coach ever?…Two weeks of Red Sox/Yankees references…Eli could pass Peyton in Super Bowl wins…Can we make Peyton hand the trophy to the winner?

PUBLIC INTEREST: America will need a collective cold shower for two weeks leading up to this game. Football fans (in Boston and New York especially) will be on fire at a rematch.

FINAL VERDICT: Super Bowl rematches at any stage rarely happen. Only Pittsburgh/Dallas, Miami/Washington, Cincinnati/San Francisco, and Dallas/Buffalo have turned the trick. This would be different and on some sort of Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader level. I’m all in. Everybody bring a light saber.

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