Grab your wings, grab your booze, and grab your friends. If your team is still in the race, don’t forget to perform whatever weird superstitious rituals you think will help. It’s championship Sunday, ladies and gentlemen. So buckle up, because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. Today we dive into the careers of the 4 quarterbacks who will be taking the field, both what they have accomplished and how far another Lombardi trophy will take them.
- Andrew Luck – the new kid on the block
This will be the grizzly-faced Stanford grad’s first appearance in pro football’s final 4. Colts management took a monumental risk in prematurely terminating Peyton Manning’s career to draft this young stud, and he has not disappointed (3rd in the regular season in passing yards, 1st so far this postseason). However, Luck’s conquest today will be the bane of his existence: Tom Brady, whom he is 0-3 against in his career, losing by an average of 68 points. Despite the season ending injury to workhouse Ahmad Bradshaw and the relegation of Trent Richardson to special teams duty, the Colts running game has held its own, thanks to the rise of 3rd year running back Daniel “Boom” Herron. The defense has been outstanding as of late, giving up just 33 points in its last 3 games since a week 16 collapse in Dallas. Ultimately, Luck could throw for 5000 yards every year, but it will all be for naught if he doesn’t have a ring to show for it. If Luck and the defense continue to play at elite levels, and the running game provides an ancillary spark, this team has a chance, and the roots for the conversation of Luck as an all-time great can begin to form.
- Tom Brady – seeking redemption
In the early 2000’s Brady appeared to be on his way to being the best to ever play the game. His clutch antics led to 3 Super Bowl victories in his 1st 4 years at the helm. In 2007, he came within a game of completing the 1st 19-0 season ever. However, the Giants relentless pass rush would prove to be too much, as it would again in the championship 4 years later. Brady has gone a decade without tasting football’s greatest fruit, though his squads have averaged 12.3 wins a year in that span. The criticism remains that he has failed to capture a Lombardi since the “Spygate” accusations arose, so he certainly has something to prove. However, this might be one of the best teams he has every played on thanks to the defense, led by superstar offseason acquisition Darrelle Revis. They will have to be better than they were against Baltimore, a game which snapped a streak of 12 games without giving up more than 25 points. The running game will have to be better, as it managed just 14 yards against the Ravens. All things considered, I like Brady’s odds in this one. (more…)