This is where the rubber meets the road.
The juxtaposition in the world of football between college and the pros is never more obvious than in the first week of January, as great college teams match up against one another in flashy bowl games under bright lights with no hope of anything further. Winning a Rose Bowl might be great for a team like Michigan State, but finishing second or third in the final polls is a far cry from finishing first and being handed the crystal football.
In the NFL, a team like the Kansas City Chiefs doesn't need to worry about pollster bias as it jumps from being the worst team in the NFL and having the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft to playing a playoff game the very next season.
In the NFL, a team like the San Diego Chargers can sneak into the postseason, and rather than have fans worry about which nonsensical bowl matchup they're going to have to lose money traveling to for little more than a bit of extra recognition, it can still have a shot at a Super Bowl.
In the NFL, there's no loafing to protect bodies for the draft or blowouts thanks to coaches jumping ship before the postseason. There are no parades until the games are actually over and no concerns that friends and family won't be able to find the game buried on a back corner of the local cable provider.
No, this is the pros. Every game matters during the regular season, and now every game matters that much more in the postseason.
Wild Card Weekend is proof positive that even the underdogs deserve a shot at greatness.