Super Bowl XLIII: A Media Watershed
No matter who makes the Super Bowl this coming February, it is almost guaranteed that the media will have plenty of angles to deal from.
Any matchup of the current playoff-bound teams is certain to have tons of fodder for the overwhelming media crunch that awaits it. There will be no shortage of tall and interesting tales to tell.
Just as a lark, I decided to explore some of those angles. NBC will be televising live from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, meaning that Al Michaels and John Madden will be providing the commentary. Neither is ever at a loss for words, adding to the experience.
For beginners, let's take a look at some of the improbable teams that could find themselves playing for the Lombardi trophy. Miami, who was just 1-15 last year is still very much alive in the AFC playoff race. Just think, Bill Parcells back in the Super Bowl!
Atlanta is already in the playoffs and can actually end up with a bye. Can you imagine...? This is the same team that, just a year ago, lost its franchise player to a dogfighting scandal and had its head coach quit on them.
Owner Arthur Blank deserved better that that, and right now he's being rewarded tenfold. If this team ends up in Tampa, I will start going to church again on Sundays. Miracles are for real!
San Diego was dead and buried three weeks ago. They were, perhaps, the biggest failures of the 2008 season. Now, thanks to the Denver Broncos they are in the driver's seat in the AFC West race. Just think, all those monster seasons that ended in disappointment wiped out with a feel-good Super Bowl run. Stranger things have happened.
The Baltimore Ravens were lost in a funk a year ago. Then they went into this year's draft and took QB Joe Flacco. He's not solely responsible for the team's turnaround, but having a franchise QB in the fold sometimes is just what a team needs to reverse course.
Dallas was heavily favored again to get to the Super Bowl. They can still get there, but they have stumbled and have six losses. If they lose to Philadelphia this week, they can miss the playoffs altogether, sending pink slips flying off the desk of Jerry Jones.
The matchup—the one in which the NFL would drool over—is the All-Manning Bowl. What could be better than two siblings squaring off in America's ultimate sporting event? It's not a longshot. either. This matchup pits the last two Super Bowl winners against each other.
Others in which the Giants are involved include a rematch against the Patriots or a showdown between 2004 first round selections Eli Manning and Philip Rivers of San Diego or Eli and Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh.
The latter would also serve as clash between two clubs that are still owned by the families of their founders.
Then, of course, you could have a Tennessee-Giants matchup in which QB Kerry Collins would face his former team. Or, in a longshot, Brett Favre leading the legions of forlorn Jets fans into Tampa after a seesaw season.
There are some matchups that I'm sure NBC is rooting against, too. Let's say, if Minnesota was playing against Tennessee. There's plenty of good players on each team, but very little star power.
That aside, all compasses are pointing towards a media event not seen anywhere at anytime in our history. It's a great time to be journalist, photographer, radio host, or just a fan.
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