Superbowl 2013 talk, now? Four teams are left standing as the dust settled Sunday evening with a thrilling conclusion to yet another wild NFL playoff week. So why talk about the Superbowl now?
This just happens to be the perfect time to not only discuss Superbowl 2013, but more specifically which Superbowl 2013 scenario YOU, the fans, desire the most.
Why not? Cookie-cutter articles get old after a while, and I'd like to hear the voice of the fans for a change.
The road to Superbowl 2013 has been defined by four unique stories for fans to sift through. These stories are a bit different from what we've been used to the past few years. Even if your team is eliminated, the football fan inside each of us surely can find vested interest in one of these tails as we get ready for Superbowl 2013 to be decided next week.
What are these stories?
Superbowl 2013 Stories:
The Atlanta Falcons: They've earned the moniker of a "one and done" playoff team over the years. But this past Sunday's win over the Seahawks finally shook the proverbial monkey loose and forwarded Atlanta additional postseason life. It was a heroic display from Matt Ryan as he battled against himself, as well as, a terribly good defense in Seattle. "Matty Ice" finally took the next step in his blossoming career to attain his first playoff win ever. But there's an even bigger story here.
Atlanta fans know this could very well be the final year for TE Tony Gonzalez who has never achieved a Superbowl win in his storied 16 year career. Gonzalez propelled the march of the Falcons with an unbelievable show of talent as he caught one clutch-catch after another. Gonzalez totaled just 59 yards and a TD in the contest, but numbers often tell just half the story. The veteran Gonzalez was the foundation this Falcons team needed to win; just as he has been for nearly two decades. But he isn't the only person with this type of story now, is he?
The Baltimore Ravens: The fold team of the AFC. Another one-and-done squad. Overrated and underachieving.These are just a few examples of fan viewpoints I have heard (and/or fielded) over the years. But the Ravens not only put to rest these horrific whispers, they buried them deep in the soil; high up in the mountains of Denver, Colorado. Joe Flacco—like Matt Ryan—rose to an entirely new level Saturday as he led his Ravens to a double overtime win over the vaunted Peyton Manning led Broncos.
The bigger story? Like Atlanta, this will be Ray Lewis' last season. The "great one" has one final chance to reach the Superbowl and attain one more ring. One more dance out of the nest. One final pursuit that ironically continues with the one team who eliminated them by a single point last season...
The New England Patriots: With so much Superbowl rich history to delve into here, one has to wonder what possible story line could be at hand. Well to be honest, there's really just one: Tom Brady.
We all remember that magical moment Brady won his first Superbowl, and what a ride it has been since. 8 Pro Bowls, 3 Superbowl victories, 5 AFC Championships, 10 AFC East Championships and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
But Tom Brady is no longer that 27 year old NFL darling that captured us all in 2007. Tom Brady is a seasoned veteran yes, but an aging iconic quarterback whose door may be rapidly closing. Brady has vehemently tried to win just his fourth Superbowl in recent years, but to no avail. Call it age, bad luck or whatever. But at 35, the door for any quarterback begins to creak shut, and this could be Tom Brady's last quality chance to achieve the elusive fourth ring.
And finally, from age to youth we find...
The San Francisco 49ers: The surprise of the 2013 NFL season. A controversial roster move that is now showing itself to be a possible act of genius. Jim Harbaugh's 49ers were a simple stone's throw away from reaching the Superbowl in 2012, but it wasn't enough. Amongst other variant reasons, he felt a change needed to be executed at the quarterback position this year.
Enter Colin Kaepernick, a second round draft pick out of Nevada.
As stated earlier, when coach Harbaugh decided to roll the dice with the speedy Kaepernick it was widely accepted to be a foolish gamble on his behalf. Alex Smith was—for the most part—doing a solid job under center, why rock the boat?
Well half a season later, the youngster who won two back to back bowl games with the Wolf Pack began another chapter in his very short pro career with a convincing victory over the Green Bay Packers.
That victory sets multiple stages. We finally get to see just who is the best team in the NFC,the Falcons or the 49ers. We get the opportunity to perhaps see a Superbowl that pits brother against brother if both the 49ers and Ravens make it in. We also get a chance to see the veteran Brady—a player who started his own path similarly to Kaepernick today—face the youthful Kaepernick in what could be one helluva paradoxical Superbowl contest.
So. Which Superbowl do you want to see? Cast your vote and leave your additional comment below. After next week's Conference showdowns, I will reveal the result the fan poll!