What a wild final weekend for the NFL. The Green Bay Packers had the NFC title all tied up going into the final 5 minutes of the game before head-butting it all away. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch suddenly awoke and took over, willing the Seattle Seahawks to an overtime victory and securing a second straight NFC Championship title. Over in the AFC, the mighty New England Patriots offensive line allowed the great Tom Brady to wield his power and dominate the Indianapolis Colts to pave their way to a sixth AFC Championship. Congrats to both teams.
Thus concludes one of the more compelling season of the NFL – on and off the field. From the marijuana suspension for Josh Gordon to the violent domestic abuse of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, from the rebirth of Tony Romo to the downfall of 49er coach Jim Harbaugh, from writing off Tom Brady early in the season to wrongly assuming a championship for Peyton Manning in the playoffs. What a great season to witness for NFL fans.
Now, I know what you must be thinking. Wait, it’s not over yet – what about the Super Bowl two weeks from now? I’m sorry to have to break it to you, but for any self respecting football fan, the Super Bowl is not about football. The Super Bowl is an entertainment show. The Super Bowl is about the million dollar commercials. At any given Super Bowl party, the room is noticably quieter during a car commercial featuring Clint Eastwood or Paul Harvey than a game winning field goal attempt. The Super Bowl is about the halftime show. I guarantee you this year there will be more people analyzing the dance moves, wardrobe and hair of Katie Perry than will be analyzing the tricky play calling of Bill Belichick. The Super Bowl is about the schmaltzy stories during the pre-show and the hyper-speed music videos that highlight the teams’ seasons. The Super Bowl is about anything other than what it should be about, the game.
Every year, the focus of the Super Bowl moves further and further away from the game. It’s understandable. The more eyeballs that are tuning in, the wider appeal you must offer. If you’ve got 110 million people watching your program and you only show them a football game, there is something wrong with you. That’s why this weekend, NFC/AFC Championship weekend , is the best weekend for NFL football fans. It’s all about the game. There are no halftime shows. The commercials are the same ones you’ve been seeing for the past 18 weeks. And everyone working for the network is talking about one thing… the football game about to be played. And there are two of them! Plus, one of them is, if not both, are usually more exciting than the game that will be played in Arizona two weeks from now.
So for me, whew, what a season. I’m really happy I got to spend this past Sunday watching four great teams battle it out for a championship title, even if my favorite team wasn’t playing this year. But hey, I got to cheer the 49ers the last three years in row in an NFC Championship, so it’s nice to let others have a go at it. See ya next season!