This is a casual football fan's dream.
As sportswriters—heck, even just as fans of the game—we all start the season by picking which two teams we think will get to the Super Bowl. Part of the decision is based on in-depth analysis, trends, matchups, coaching styles and good ol' fashioned football know-how.
Part of the decision, to be honest, is usually based on which teams we want to cover. Let's face it, some teams just have a more interesting back story, and while that never—repeat never—makes one NFL team a more worthy champion than another, it does make the two weeks leading up to the title game that much more interesting.
The Super Bowl has become such an enormous event that the actual playing of the game can become secondary to the buzz around it.
For hardcore football fans, the conference championship weekend is your Super Bowl and this year the NFL has given us the absolute best possible games to decide which teams advance to the biggest spectacle in American sports.
Go back again to the start of the season, when everyone was talking about San Francisco as the hot team coming off a loss in last year's Super Bowl. The one team that stood in the 49ers' way was the Seattle Seahawks, a trendy pick to thwart their division rivals and get a crack at this year's Lombardi Trophy.
Troy Aikman called the 49ers and Seahawks the best rivalry in football during the Fox telecast of the divisional playoffs and with so much on the line this coming weekend, it's certainly going to play like that.
For more casual football fans, the best rivalry in football may have less to do with hard-nosed NFC West foes and more to do with aging AFC quarterbacks.
The Denver Mannings host the New England Bradys with a chance to get back to another Super Bowl. I don’t care what season it is, if you told casual football fans back in September they would get a chance to watch Peyton Manning and the Broncos play Tom Brady and the Patriots with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, everyone would just sign up then and be done with the regular season.
This matchup should be a hardcore fan's dream as well, with two of the best quarterbacks of all time leading two insanely prolific offenses in what could be a shootout for the ages.
This coming Sunday may give us the best single day of pro football in years. It's almost impossible for the Super Bowl to live up to this kind of hype. And yet…it's the Super Bowl. With these four teams, there is no way the hype won't be off the charts.
With that, which of the four possible Super Bowl games will be the most enjoyable…and the most buzzworthy?
Remember, the most buzz doesn't always create the best football game—thank you very much Super Bowls XXXIV and XLIII—so we will attempt to break each matchup down into categories that interest both the casual football fans and the hardcore fans.
The Super Bowl cannot always be all things to all fans, but this year, with these teams, it really can. Let's look at which of the matchups will deliver the most to the most.