A legend hungry for more titles, two veteran QBs living their “last dance” and historic teams with a thirst for the Super Bowl spice up these NFL Playoffs
The final week of the NFL regular season had it all: lots of drama, surprises and even miracles. All these elements came together to define the last invited to some Playoffs that also paint to be memorable like Super Bowl LVI .
Why? Three pieces of information are enough to determine it: the “ GOAT ” Tom Brady and the Buccaneers will defend their title, there are historical franchises with a thirst for glory and legendary passers who are at their “last dance”.
Super Bowl LVI
There are 14 teams that will fight with everything to reach Super Bowl LVI, to be played in that technological jewel called SoFI Stadium , home of the Los Angeles Rams , one of the teams classified for this Postseason .
Wild Card Games
Of those, 12 will be in action this weekend in the Wild Card Games. Green Bay – the great favorite to be champion according to the sportsbooks – and Tennessee will rest after having finished with the best record in their respective conferences. They will start their way up to the divisional round.
And it is in the Packers where one of those quarterbacks is who will live his last chance to return to the great game of the NFL. Last season, Aaron Rodgers was sidelined by losing the NFC Final at home . Tom Brady and the “Bucs” spoiled his plans and, in the end, they were crowned against Kansas City .
The Cheeseheads don’t want that to happen again. They are eager to return to the Super Bowl, something they have not achieved since the XLV edition, when they faced, precisely, the other quarterback who will say goodbye after finishing this season: Ben Roethlisberger .
The “Big Ben” extended his goodbye to the NFL for another week. After beating Baltimore , the combinations that the Steelers needed were given and this Sunday they will look for another feat: to defeat the Chiefs as visitors who want to reach their third SB in a row.
Roethlisberger knows that they are not favorites and for this reason he was clear, lapidary, when asked about his chances of victory: “We don’t have a chance, so we’re going to go out and have fun. Of the 14 teams, I think we’re number 14. We’re the underdogs by at least double digits this postseason.”
Pessimism? Are you giving up early? Or perhaps, a strategy. Last season, the Steelers arrived as big favorites to their first playoff game, because it was against their “clients”, the Browns , who defeated them.
With 18 seasons in the NFL, Roethlisberger knows that miracles happen and that even the most favorite falls. For now, the Chiefs are 12.5-point favorites ahead for the game between the two.
Pittsburgh has also not returned to a Super Bowl since that XLV edition –more than 10 years ago–, but there are other historical ones with a greater drought… and the faces will be seen quickly.
URGED BY SUPER BOWL, REVIVE AN OLD RIVALRY
Dallas and San Francisco star in the most striking duel – in terms of fans and history – of this round. Cowboys and 49ers will revive their great rivalry in the Postseason .
It goes from the consecutive duels for the National Conference title in the 70s, through the iconic “La Atrapada” in the 1981 season and ends with the tough rivalry of the 90s when they met three times in a row in the Final of the National Conference .
Back then, the Cowboys took the first two matchups and the 49ers won the third to travel to Super Bowl XXIX , where they were crowned for the last time in the NFL. Next January 29 will be 27 years without a title for a franchise that marked a dynasty in the 80’s at the hands of Joe Montana .
In the case of Dallas, the urgency is also very great, since since the XXX edition they have not reached the Super Bowl. It doesn’t matter that they are the richest team in the world, according to Forbes magazine: the Cowboys have not been NFL champions for 26 years. This Sunday, they or the 49ers will continue their long drought.
BRADY, FOR ANOTHER ‘BI’ AND THE “PATS” BACK
Finally, the other great ingredient of these Playoffs is the current NFL champion, who, led by his legendary quarterback , will seek to retain the title… and he has what it takes to do so.
Brady is playing in MVP mode: he led several areas for a quarterback and the Buccaneers qualified for this Postseason with their best record in history. They are the second seed in the NFC and have the experience of knowing how to play in these instances. They even look better than last season.
For its part, Brady’s former team, after a year of absence, is back and that only means one thing: New England will be a stone in the shoe for anyone in the American Conference, because if anyone knows how to play the Postseason that is coach Bill Belichick . Can you imagine a SB Pats vs Bucs? Why not?
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.