No Such Nonsense

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Championship Sunday

It is, as some of you know, my very favourite day of the year. It's a simple equation:

Championship Sunday > Superbowl Sunday


Too many Superbowls are one-sided blow-outs, or low-scoring snores. Truly competitive games on the big Sunday are few and far between. But Championship Sunday? These are games between teams that know each other well - usually between well-matched teams (with none of the AFC-NFC power imbalance at play). Often, they are games between teams who hate one another.

The big-ticket match-up would, of course, have been Indianapolis versus New England. How much do Colts fans hate the Pats? So much so that they booed a 14-year-old girl who was announced as one of the winner of the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick Competition just for wearing a Pats jersey.

But given that Indy pretty much gave the game away with some seriously lackluster offence on Sunday, it'll be New England versus San Diego. Oh, and by the way, the Chargers really hate the Patriots too. LT, really, really hates them. Now, if only he plays it might be interesting. I wouldn't bet on it though - it'll be New England in the end.

The other game is the one with some real intrigue. The Giants barely made it into the play-offs and looked likely to exit early as they began their traditional late-season swoon. But something funny happened on the way to the play-offs. The defence, written off in weeks one and two as brutally bad, started playing like pro-bowlers. And in the last week of the season, rather than sit their stars to rest for the play-offs, the Giants met history head on by playing hard against the Pats in their quest for regular season perfection. And the Giants made a game of it. They came as close as anyone has to defeating the Pats this year. A Pats-Giants Superbowl sounds almost tantalizing. There's just one thing in the way:

Lambeau Field.

It's beaten down better teams than the Giants (see: Seattle Seahawks). Brett Favre is playing with a bunch of kids - the Pack are the youngest team in the league, even when you include their geriatric QB - and he's playing his best ball in years. That ridiculous completion as he was stumbling through the snow last week? It belonged on the highlight reels not just for the sheer pluck of it, but for the remarkable sense of the field Favre retains.

Whether this week will be a similar snowy winter wonderland or not remains to be seen. But the game looks like a good one.

My superbowl pick - the Colts - is done for. So, I'll have to pull for the Pack to redeem me - at least a little.


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