Indianapolis, New York, Minnesota, and New Orleans. Okay, so it isn't exactly the three musketeers just yet, but it's close enough. Sunday marks the day that destiny will become true for two teams, and at the same time marks the day of a devastating loss that ends a good, but not "all there," season for two others.
With all fighting for a Super Bowl spot in three weeks time, a tough argument has arisen between sports writers, fans, and analysts that needs a simple but complicated answer. Who needs a Super Bowl win more?
Well, at the moment it's tough to say. With all four teams featuring great passing games and extremely strong defenses, the answer is a lot tougher to give than it is to ask for.
On one hand you have Minnesota. They have a strong passing game, but are a young team that has risen from the ranks as a "could be" to a "can be."
Brett Favre is only in his first season with the Vikings, and his old cannon has already guided them to a playoff spot that they haven't felt so confident occupying in years past.
One has to wonder though, is a Super Bowl ring more important to the Vikings, or is it more important to Favre?
With another possible final season in the NFL, many skeptical fans believe that Favre is the greatest quarterback to ever put on a pair of boots. As entitled to your own opinion as you are, Brett has only won one Super Bowl ring with the Packers, and that was over a decade ago.
For the Vikings as a team, though, a Super Bowl win would be enormous. Not only ego building, but confidence building as well.
Young running back Adrian Peterson has been outstanding in every season he has partaken in. We all know that. But so has rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin. Throw these two guys a Super Bowl ring, along with head coach Brad Childress, and you've got yourself one happy team. Not to mention the fans.
As much of a Favre lover as I am, it would be interesting to see whether No. 4 would stick around in Minnesota after gaining his all-important ring. Already a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, and with a ring under his belt, what else is there left for Favre to prove really?
That he has a great arm still? Well we all know that, Brett; we don't need reminding.
Packer fans do need to be wary though. A Vikings Super Bowl win would not only result in some questioning on Ted Thompson's behalf, but it would also lead to some controversy on why Brett Favre couldn't get it done once with Green Bay after 16 years, but at the same time could stroll into Minnesota and win it within the span of a season.
However, that's another whole story.
New Orleans Saints
Who Dat gonna beat them Saints? Well how about Dallas, Tampa Bay, and Carolina. That aside, though, the Saints are looking like the team they were back in Week One. Strong, balanced, determined, and overall impressive.
Go through Drew Brees' career achievements, and you'll admit to yourself that they are pretty impressive. One thing stands out though, a Super Bowl win.
In his nine years in the NFL, Brees has copped his fair share of criticism and acknowledgement. With the question of "Why didn't the Chargers take Brees in the first place" still looming around after all these years, maybe a Super Bowl win would finally shut doubters up.
More importantly, though, a Super Bowl win for New Orleans would be a thing in itself. After Katrina, and after years of disappointment, if Brees were to take the Saints to the big game and win it, he would be a nationwide hero. Especially for Terry Bradshaw.
With no Super Bowl wins, and no prestigious Lombardi Trophies, a New Orleans Super Bowl win could really do something for this organization. A good mix of young and old is found in New Orleans, and once again a ring could be the piece to the puzzle that the Saints have been missing.
New York Jets
If you'd told me two weeks ago that I'd be including the Jets in this article, I would have laughed at you. They proved everyone wrong though, and good on Rex Ryan for doing such a great job.
Super Bowl Champions over 40 years ago, the Jets have had a curse hanging over their team like a bad smell. Joe Namath will always be the Jets golden boy, and so be it.
One name that is up and coming though is Mark Sanchez, and although the rookie doesn't need anymore motivation right now, he would certainly welcome Mr. Lombardi into his home.
How ironic would it be that when the Giants move out of Giants Stadium, the Jets win a Super Bowl? Well that's the reality that Jets faithfuls are faced with, and trust me, they ain't complaining.
There are rookies left, right, and centre on this team, and for Rex Ryan to lead New York to its first Super Bowl in 40 years in his first year as head coach would be a milestone that the NFL wouldn't soon forget.
For me, this is like writing about the Yankees. They've been there, we've seen them, and they've done it. 2006 was their year, and it was a year of dominance—pretty much similar to this season.
Like Brett Favre, Peyton is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. With a Super Bowl win under his belt already, there isn't going to be any Dan Marino type story with Manning. However, due to his impressive stats and over accomplishments, many Colts fans in particular will compare Manning to Johnny Unitas in years to come.
At the moment, they don't match-up, but with a Super Bowl win and another MVP trophy, he's on a collision course to outdo even Joe Montana.
As for the city of Indianapolis, well they don't really need anymore success in the world of football. Who am I to discount them, though? With one of the most passionate fan bases in the world, the Colts would love another win.
Finally, after analyzing each team, it's obvious as to who needs a Super Bowl win more though. It's not even arguable: It's the New Orleans Saints.
At the moment, Saints fans are trying to prove to everyone that they are America's team, and with a Super Bowl win they just might do that. Drew Brees is great, Reggie Bush is great, Jeremy Shockey is great, and Marques Colston is great.
The Saints' defense is back, and Sean Payton knows it. They have the talent to go places, they just need to finish. No choking, no excuses; it's time for the Saints to get it done.