The NFL was the big winner this weekend as four its best and most compelling quarterbacks–New England’s Tom Brady, Denver’s Peyton Manning, San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, and Seattle’s Russell Wilson–are in their respective conference championship games, guaranteeing the NFL will have two marquee quarterbacks squaring off in next month’s Super Bowl.
Next Sunday, the New England Patriots and will play at the Denver Broncos for the AFC title at 3 PM EST. The Patriots and the Broncos defeated the Colts and the Chargers, respectively.
And the San Francisco 49ers will play at the Seattle Seahawks at 6:30 PM EST for the NFC title. The 49ers and the Seahawks defeated the Panthers and the Saints, respectively, this weekend.
Brady and Manning always seem to clash, and Brady holds a 10-4 (including a dramatic comeback win in New England earlier this season) career record against Manning and is 2-1 over Manning in the playoffs.
Wilson versus Kaepernick has the potential to be a Manning-Brady for a younger generation, especially since the two signal callers play in the same division.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh have feuded since Harbaugh vowed to win with “character and cruelty” when he took over Stanford when USC was college football’s preeminent powerhouse before the 2007 season. There is no love lost between the two coaches–or between Harbaugh and his former player at Stanford, Richard Sherman, who is Seattle’s cornerback and considered the best in the NFL at his position. Sherman holds Harbaugh responsible for lowering his draft stock out of college by not giving him the best of recommendation. In college, Harbaugh ran up the score on Carroll’s USC team at the Coliseum, prompting Carroll to approach the always-intense Harbaugh after the game and famously utter, “what’s your deal?” San Francisco, trying to return to the Super Bowl, went 1-1 against Seattle this year, so the NFC title game will be the ultimate rubber match.