January 17, 2014

Legacies on the line in AFC and NFC title games

Will Evil Peyton Manning get another Super Bowl shot?
The biggie, of course, is in the Denver-New England game.

Per Shannon Sharpe, with his blunt but telling comment on CBS's analysts' horseshoe last week, Peyton Manning only has one Super Bowl ring, and just that one appearance. He's a Hall of Fame QB anyway, we know that, but the lack of multiple appearances surely is a ding of some sort, and, given the "Evil Manning Face" picture, has to gnaw at him, too. Including at family reunions with two-time winning brother Eli, maybe?

Tom Brady has his own "legacy" at stake, though. Right now, he's tied with most SB appearances by a quarterback, at five, with Roger Staubach and John Elway. Geting to No. 6 breaks that. And, winning No. 4 would tie him with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana on wins. With an MVP to go with the win, he'd tie Montana there, too.

Mike Lodish and Don Beebe each had six appearances, so Brady would move into a tie for total appearances. Charles Haley has the most appearances as a winner, with five.

ESPN has a number of pieces on the latest installment of the Brady-Manning rivalry. Start with this "trading places" one.

On the NFC side, it's more coaching than individual legacies.

Win a second straight NFC title, as part of three straight appearances and Jim Harbaugh, and his 49ers can start the dynasty talk a little bit, and more than a little bit if they can nail a Super Bowl win.

Pete Carroll, on the other hand, needs to get his initial appearance in to fully lay claim to being in the top tier of coaches.

My predictions? I'm pretty comfortable going with Seattle. I don't care that the Niners have Michael Crabtree back; I think the Seahawks secondary still wins out.

Denver-New England? I'm somewhat less sure, but I'm leaning Manning right now.

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