Thursday, January 16, 2014

You Are Watching What Greatness Is All About

I've heard several people say they will not be watching the NFL Playoffs games on Sunday because they are "Sick of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady."  I will never understand this mindset.  Why would you not want to watch the two best players at their positions in this generation play such an important, pressure-packed game?  You're telling me that if it was Andy Dalton and Andrew Luck out there throwing four interceptions each out there you would want to tune in?

Brady vs Manning has happened 14-times previously--three in the AFC Championship game--with Brady holding a 10-4 advantage in terms of team wins.  That's an average of one game head-to-head every year in their careers.  One game a season featuring two of the greatest QB's of all time is more than you can handle as a fan?  And nearly every one of those contests has actually been a "big game"--with playoff implications (or elimination) on the line.  That's not as entertaining as a match up of 6-8 teams in December?

The Manning-Brady rivalry reminds of the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson heydays of the NBA.  You wanted to see the Lakers play the Celtics--whether it was their two regular season matchups (always on a Sunday afternoon on CBS) and especially in the NBA Finals--because you knew that you were going to see greatness in action.  And two of the greatest of all time making each other even better through their sheer desire to win and hatred of losing produced the best basketball we have ever (and likely will ever) see.  Would it have been nice to have the Milwaukee Bucks sneak into one of those Finals series?  Sure.  But the hoops would not have been close to as spectacular as you got with Magic vs Bird.

And what became of the NBA after it's two saviors retired?  It turned into a giant shoe commercial.  Nobody was able to become a rival for Michael Jordan--much like LeBron James has no equal now--and interest has waned to the point now where arenas are once again half-empty every night.  Fans love to see the best take on the best, even if it is the same two guys 14 or 15 times.

Knowing FOX Sports, they will be trying to hype the NFC Championship game as a matchup of "the next great Quarterback Rivarly" in the NFL.  Nice try, FOX--but the numbers don't lie, Wilson and Kaepernick are a LONG WAY away from being Manning and Brady.  Although, we here in Wisconsin can treat it as a nice battle of young stars with Wisconsin roots (seeing as how Tony Romo is probably never making the playoffs as long as Jerry Jones is Owner/General Manager/Head Coach Puppetmaster in Dallas).

To those of who who choose to turn off the AFC Championship Game on Sunday and instead watch figure skating on NBC or the final round of the Humana Challenge in Association with the William J Clinton Foundation on Golf Channel I hope you enjoy the mediocrity.  The rest of us--as Brent Musburger so eloquently put it during an epic Larry Bird post-season effort--will be "watching what greatness is all about".

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