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AFC/NFC Championship: Legacies of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady not in jeopardy Sunday
January 16, 2014 - Matt Wellens
It’s Thursday already, so I’m guessing you’ve heard this at least once, if not a thousand times by now:
Sunday’s AFC Championship will make or break the legacies of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
That’s laughable considering what these two quarterbacks have accomplished in their careers. But sports fans seem to lack any sort of long-term memory.
It’s why some dopes in Pittsburgh and Green Bay are still hoping Super Bowl champion head coaches Mike Tomlin and Mike McCarthy get fired this offseason.
The “what have you done for me lately?” epidemic that plagues fans gets worse by the year, with “lately” no longer referring to the past decade, but the most recent season, or even last week.
Brady and Manning have done plenty this season, or even as recently as last week. However, nothing these two QBs to do is good enough for those who can’t get past the fact neither has won a Super Bowl since 2007.
That’s when Manning got his one and only ring via a Super Bowl MVP performance — 25 of 38 passing for 247 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
But one ring doesn’t seem to be good enough for some, probably because Peyton’s younger brother Eli has two.
No one is taking into account Manning’s four MVP awards (with a fifth on the way), the numerous single-season records he has broken (this year alone) or the fact he’s second only to Brett Favre — who only won one Super Bowl — in career completions, touchdowns and yards.
All people care to talk about is Manning’s 9-11 record in the playoffs, which is as bad as it is in part because of Brady.
The Patriots and Brady ended the Colts’ and Manning’s season twice in 2004 and 2005 before Manning finally beat Brady in Indianapolis in 2007.
The 2004-05 season also happens to be the last time Brady won a Super Bowl title, which was only his third.
No big deal.
Brady has appeared in five Super Bowls total. Because he lost his last two in 2008 and 2012 — both to Eli and the New York Giants — the two-time Super Bowl and NFL MVP has somehow lost it.
I’m not buying any of that malarkey and plan to enjoy a gridiron rivalry on par, if not better, than Terry Bradshaw vs. Roger Staubach, or Troy Aikman vs. Steve Young.
Win or lose Sunday in the AFC Championship, or on Feb. 2 in Super Bowl XLVIII, Brady and Manning are Hall of Famers with legacies that will stand forever.
Now onto my conference championship picks, which includes three of the four teams that I predicted in the preseason to reach the NFL’s final four.
Only the Colts, who I picked to lose in the Super Bowl, let me down.
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
3 p.m., Sunday, CBS
Despite defending Manning’s legacy above, I’ll admit to losing faith he could still get it done in the playoffs after last year’s loss. He proved me wrong last week. However, the Broncos’ defense has given me plenty of reason to still doubt Denver. Patriots 31, Broncos 28
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
6:30 p.m., Sunday, FOX
Russell Wilson vs. Colin Kaepernick has the potential to follow Brady vs. Manning as the next big quarterback rivalry in the NFL. What gives this more potential is these two are division rivals. This rivalry is only getting started. I continue to stand by my preseason pick. Seahawks 28, 49ers 27
Last week: 3-1. Postseason total: 6-2. Overall: 162-101-1.
Matt Wellens is Sports Editor of the Mining Journal. Check out his Armchair QB column every Thursday at MiningJournal.net and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mattwellens. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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