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article imageOp-Ed: Why the NFL Playoffs Are the Icing on this Season's Cake

By David Silverberg     Jan 20, 2008 in Sports
Today's NFL playoff matchups -- Green Bay vs. NY Giants, Patriots vs. Chargers -- perfectly cap an exciting season of non-stop passing, fierce underdogs and memorable record breaking.
Digital Journal -- Football fans, admit it. You got what you wanted --a high-flying season of athletic prowess, perfection and some of the best moments ever witnessed on the field. And that's not just overjoyed gushing because the playoffs are even more interesting this year. The 2007 NFL season brought the power of the pass back to the game.
Did you know seven quarterbacks threw for more than 4,000 yards this season, the most ever before? And two of those seven -- Green Bay's Brett Favre and New England Patriots' Tom Brady -- are playing today in games that determine who faces off in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.
The passing game came alive in 2007, even though Peyton Manning had been tearing up yardage during last year's romp to the Super Bowl. But there was something different about how Eli Manning of the NY Giants found his groove midway in the season, hitting a wily receiver like Plaxico Burress or dumping a quick pass to Amani Toomer. This was the underdog, and younger brother, enjoying a turning point in his career; and those big moments didn't only hit quarterbacks named Manning.
Look at how San Diego Charges' QB Philip Rivers powered his team into the playoffs, into tonight's highly-anticipated matchup against the Pats. Rivers didn't let up in the playoffs -- last week, he threw three touchdowns against the Colts, earning a pass-completion percentage of 73 per cent, 13 points above his career average.
And if an underdog has to kick through a cloud of dust and linebackers to win acclaim, then Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Viking deserves special kudos. Although the Vikes aren't around today in the championship games, the Rookie of the Year running back gave fans some delicious whiplash this season. The running game was overlooked, though, as the media-darling quarterbacks stole the show.
Without a doubt, all paparrazi'd eyes were on Tom Brady (many belonging to single women). The sports fiends relished in Brady's comfort in the pocket, throwing bullet passes without even sweating. Well, either you admired Brady in 2007 or you hated him for being so perfect, for decimating every defensive coverage he came across.
When Brady completed his 50th touchdown to break the single-season TD record, it was also a turning point in the NFL season. Here, history was being made by a clean-cut QB who had no skeletons in his closet, the true All-American good-hearted athlete. It was the kind of good story the NFL needed after a bumpy road in the first half, thanks to the Patriots, incidentally -- remember the Pats were fined for secretly videotaping opposing team's play signals?
Green Bay is another epic story the NFL loves to broadcast. It's almost like a Hollywood movie: "Aging quarterback demands his team work harder this one last year, his final year! He's brash, he's greying, he masters the no-huddle, his knee hurts -- Brett Favre in Green Bay Packin'!"
OK, so maybe NFL Films wouldn't want to make Favre as macho as Rambo, but you can tell how storybook the Favre saga has been. If he and the Packers beat the Giants today, the Super Bowl will have a delightful new shine to its allure. Let's just say that any Packers game is fun to watch, and the Super Bowl only multiples that pleasure-unit tenfold. At least.
Who would be the ideal AFC opponent in the big dance? The Patriots have no business losing to the Charges, and it would be historic to see the Pats keep their flawless record right into the Super Bowl. Favre versus Brady has a nice ring to it.
Today, if those two QBs simply complete passes like they've done all season, showing poise and veteran football IQ, then there's little that can stop a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl. And what better way for the NFL season to end then with a bloody battle between two high-octane offences?
Let's see which team will show up, in both the NFC and AFC championships: will football fans see two reliable smart quarterbacks shred defenses like they were playing against 12- year-olds? Or will football fans see two underdog teams claw their way out of obscurity to dethrone the favourites?
Think about it. Giants versus Charges in Super Bowl XLII. Not a bad matchup at all. Can the playoffs do no wrong this year?
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