Everyone in the United States is going to watch the Super Bowl on February 3—we know that. But our level of interest and enjoyment in the game depends on the right matchup.
Since there is so much smoke and mirrors around the game, with commercials, halftime performers, guests at your house, etc., you can get away with not watching the game. But no one wants that.
We all want a game with the most intrigue, best storylines and biggest stars to talk about for two weeks before kickoff. Here is a personal power ranking of the best possible Super Bowl matchups in New Orleans.
No. 3: New England Patriots vs. Green Bay Packers
Brett Favre won his only Super Bowl with the Packers in 1996 against the Patriots in a Super Bowl played in New Orleans. Why not have history sort of repeat this season, with Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady locking horns?
These games are always built around the two quarterbacks, and it would be harder to have a bigger matchup than Brady vs. Rodgers.
Plus, you would have the best franchise of the last decade (New England) matching up with arguably the best franchise in the NFL today (Green Bay). Mike McCarthy doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves for being a great coach. Bill Belichick is already regarded as one of the greatest coaches ever.
All of that, and you could have the highest-scoring Super Bowl in history. New England finished the regular season averaging 34.8 points per game, best in the NFL. Green Bay was fifth at 27.1.
No. 2: San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos
Here you would have the storyline drama of Peyton Manning going up against the team he spurned in the offseason to sign with Denver.
If that's not enough, you would also have the story of Colin Kaepernick taking over for Alex Smith halfway through the season and bringing the 49ers back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the latter stages of the Steve Young era.
And, oh by the way, both defenses are pretty good. San Francisco faded down the stretch due to some injuries and fatigue from the New England game, but Jim Harbaugh's crew is still the most physical unit in the NFL.
Because Manning plays for the Broncos, the offense was always going to grab the headlines. But the defense finished first in sacks, second in yards allowed and fourth in points allowed.
This would be a fantastic, physical, smash-mouth game between two of the most storied franchises in the NFL.
No. 1: Green Bay Packers vs. Denver Broncos
We are limiting ourselves a bit using just four different teams to build the perfect Super Bowl matchups. But when you have players and storylines this good, it is hard not to get caught up in what they can do.
No matchup would be bigger than the Packers taking on the Broncos. Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL today. Manning might end up being the MVP this season after missing all of 2011 and could cement his status as the greatest quarterback of all time with a second title.
It's not like the NFL needs the ratings boost for the Super Bowl, because the game has set a new record in each of the last three years. But few players move the needle like Manning.
Add to all that the fact that the Packers are one of the biggest draws in the NFL, and you have a Super Bowl that will draw massive, record-breaking numbers and provide incredible drama from start to finish.