What To Know : Conference Championship Sunday

The Conference Championships are here…and let me tell you, I’m all kinds of freaking out. These matchups are unreal. Let’s just dive right in before I get too excited.

AFC Championship

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (Sunday at 3pm EST)

Interesting fact of the day: Brady and Manning have met three times in the playoffs. Each time, the home team not only won, but won and went on to win the Super Bowl. That’s a pretty good deal. Brady has won twice, Manning once.

These teams have already met once this season. Remember the comeback to beat all comebacks back in November? The one in which the Patriots went into halftime shutout, down 24-0, and emerged victorious in a 34-31 win? We get to see that again, although probably a little bit different this time around. But then again, who knows!

It’s kind of poetic that Manning is going to have to defeat Brady to defeat his playoff demons as well. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are walking football legends. They’ve been compared up and down a thousand times over, with Brady always being given the head-to-head edge (which he’s earned; he’s won 10 of the 14 times they’ve played each other).

Manning is having the season of a lifetime as the undisputed MVP. Brady is having the season of a lifetime of a completely different kind; he’s leading his team and getting the job done better than even before while having less than ever before.

THIS GAME. I just can’t take it!!! I’m so excited!

NFC Championship

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday at 6:30pm EST)

The game is like the little brother of the first game: two up-and-coming quarterbacks who could very easily find themselves in Brady or Manning-esque shoes a few years down the road.

This is also a repeat of a regular season matchup. Since the Niners and the Seahawks are in the same division they play twice a year; each team won their home game this year. The Seahawks, however, had the more convincing win by a landslide, beating the Niners 29-3 in Week 2. Seattle is a notoriously hostile environment, and in a championship game against a divisional rival?

We’ll probably feel the aftershocks over here on the east coast.

Have a GREAT Conference Championship weekend, everyone!!! It’s shaping up to be nothing short of amazing.

What to Know : After Conference Championshps

football, games, conference

The Super Bowl matchup we’ve always wondered about is on it’s way. The HarBowl has gone from curious possibility to reality.

Who knew?!

But first, let’s talk about Sunday’s games.

Game 1: Niners at Falcons (Niners 28, Falcons 24)

What We Learned: The #1 Seed falls yet again. Neither the Falcons (#1 NFC) nor the Broncos (#1 AFC) will be representing their conference in the Super Bowl this year, which proves once more that the elusive #1 Seed can be more of a curse than a blessing. 2009 was the last time a #1 NFC Seed won the Super Bowl (Saints), and you have to go all the way back to 2003 to a time when the #1 AFC Seed won the Super Bowl (Patriots). Teams can’t, and wouldn’t/shouldn’t try not to have the best record in their conference – that defeats the whole point of playing the game. But it just goes to show that when the postseason arrives, everything goes out the window. It’s a new season and a level playing field. (If you’re interested in the whole seeding vs. success thing, which is really intriguing, read this story by ESPN.)

For the second week in a row, the Falcons took off with a scorching lead – 17-0 right out of the gate! And for the second week in a row, they allowed their opponent to come back – only this time, their opponent won. The comeback wasn’t as all-consuming this week as last week – it was more like a slow creep onto the scoreboard mixed with a few fatal errors from the Falcons – but it was a comeback all the same. The Falcons weren’t able to convert in the red zone on 4th down late in the 4th quarter following a hotly debated catch call, and that kind of sealed the deal for them.

What’s Next?: Little brother vs. big brother in Super Bowl XLVII.

Game 2: Ravens at Patriots (Ravens 28, Patriots 13)

What We Learned: Ray Lewis was right! No weapon formed against the Ravens has prospered. Even this one: Tom Brady was formerly 67-0 against all opponents at home when going into halftime with the lead. That was quite the record, but the Ravens smashed it on Sunday. The defense was a thing of beauty, disrupting Tom Brady and rarely allowing classic Patriot-esque quick, big plays. The Patriots fabled clock management? Completely thrown off. Joe Flacco wasn’t a hindrance to the Ravens cause, either. He had the offense firing on all cylinders  in the second half (and Anquan Boldin? Hello!)

What’s Next?: Big brother vs. little brother in Super Bowl XLVII.

Well, This Is Weird:

Both Harbaugh teams were road teams.

Both road teams won.

Both scored a total of 28 points.

Both shut out their opponents in the second half.


I was pulling for the Falcons, but I have to admit that it’ll be a fun historic moment to have two brothers coaching against each other in the Super Bowl, and on paper it seems like a great game. Congratulations to both teams!

How about you guys? Did the games turn out as you hoped? Are you excited for the Super Bowl???