The Super Bowl was terrible. I’m happy for the Seattle Seahawks and their enthusiastic fan base for winning their first title, and starting a discussion that will no doubt carry through the Carroll/Wilson years in the Pacific Northwest: is this a dynasty team? I think the NFC is full of hard-nosed competitors who will provide wonderful battles on our coveted gridiron for years to come. I can only imagine the fevered shouting matches between 49ers and Seahawks fans over a pint of beer at the Banshee.
Who won was not the problem.
The problem is one that has become central in sports: the depreciation of the overall product in favor of a few well-polished products. The NFC is built to win. The AFC, after the shellacking of the undisputed #1 offense in the league, has revealed something frightening indeed: the AFC is weak, and not very deep.
The Broncos and Patriots emerged as the powerhouses of the AFC and neither team would have been prepared for the Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals, or the Panthers. What remains of the vaunted Steelers, Patriots, and Colts of the past decade are an overpaid Joe Flacco and a promising career from Andrew Luck, the previous owner of a ridiculous beard. How many years, really, do Brady and Manning have left of postseason promise? If I’m being honest, even as a Patriots fan, I think the days of these two guaranteed first-ballot HOF quarterbacks being dangerous in the playoffs is at the edge of a soon-to-be abyss-like, precipitous drop.
This is not unlike the current situation in the NBA: the Eastern Conference is a ghost town except for two teams, the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. Is this the foreseeable future for the AFC as well? Will the Chiefs emerge victorious atop the playoff heap next year without so many injuries? Can Andrew Luck reduce his interceptions to give his team a better chance against clutch teams? Is Philip Rivers “resurgence” fool’s gold? Can Dalton prove the doubters wrong and do something with the Bengals?
As the NBA takes center stage for a few months before MLB begins anew and the FIFA World Cup takes over the summer, we have more than seven months of rumors, guesswork, and expectations to sift through before we get to watch another football game. Here’s to a Thunder championship and the US winning the World Cup.
It is going to be an interesting offseason, folks.