For those of you who have read my column over the past eight years, you know that as time has passed, the less interested that I have become with pro football.
I am not overly impressed by grown men who get paid more for playing one game than most all of us will see in our lifetimes. I am not talking about a season, I am talking about ONE game. The highest-paid players in the league make more than $1 million for just one game and that is not just ludicrous … it’s insane.
But I digress from the point of this column.
I have actually watched more NFL playoff action this year than I have in the last five or six years combined.
My newest son, Preston, is a big Chicago Bears fan and I was right there with him as we watched the Bears kicker choke against the Eagles on the final play of the game. “No señor! No señor!” (If you are perplexed by that last line look up Philadelphia Eagles no señor on Google and you can find a video of the Eagles’ Spanish broadcast of the game, it’s hilarious and well worth the time to look it up.)
As football season gets to its end, we have three meaningful games left on the slate.
The AFC title game.
The NFC title game.
And Super Bowl LIII.
In those three games will be four gunslingers playing quarterback for their respective teams.
We have a pair of 40-something gunslingers — New Orleans’ Drew Brees and New England’s Tom Brady, both of whom have already won Super Bowls. Then we have the young gunslingers — Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff.
Brady (38) has as many starts in playoff games as Goff has career starts. Brady (269) and Brees (264) have 533 career starts compared to a combined 55 for Goff and Mahomes — a 10-1 ratio. Both Goff and Mahomes have had their only playoff experience this season. They have a combined three playoff game starts while Brees has played in 14 postseason games.
So, we have Brady and the Patriots going to play Mahomes and the Chiefs in Kansas City in the AFC title game.
On the other side, Goff and the Rams will travel to the Big Easy to face Brees and the “Who Dat! Nation” in the Super Dome.
One young gunslinger gets the comfort of playing at home against a Patriots team that he lost to in New England by a field goal back in October, while the other gets to make a second trip to a venue that he played in on Nov. 4 when Goff and the Rams lost to the Saints 45-35.
It’s a pair of rematches and I have never been one who wants my team to play a rematch against someone that they beat earlier in the season, so that doesn’t bode well for the Saints.
However, venues and previous meetings aside, it comes down to the old guys vs. the new ones. Which ones will have the moxie to take his team to the biggest stage in all of football?
When you look at it from our prospective down here in the Dirty South, you know the majority of us (me included) want to see the Saints in the Big Game. If I was guaranteed that the Saints would win, then I would want Brees and Co. to play Brady and the Patriots. But I will take a matchup with the Chiefs just to be in the Big Game.
The least popular matchup would probably be the Patriots playing the Rams. No.1 because no one really wants to see the Patriots back in the Super Bowl, but if this is the final game, then everyone outside of New England will be rooting for Goff and the Rams.
Possibly the most intriguing Super Bowl LIII matchup would be the Chiefs and Rams, considering the two teams played an epic game back in Week 11 when Goff and the Rams got the best of Mahomes and the Chiefs in a 54-51 Wild West shootout. If the Saints lose to the Rams, then we should all root heavily for the Rams against the Pats.
In the end, I think that the two home teams will hold serve on Sunday. Mahomes will get a signature win over Brady and the Pats while Brees and Co. will take care of Goff and the Rams for the second time in the dome.
When it comes down to the Big One in the ATL on Feb.3 — Brees will cement his place in the Hall of Fame and among the Top 5 QBs of all time after leading the Saints to their second Super Bowl title in the past decade.
The Guru says: Saints 38, Chiefs 27
Guru Nichols is former sports editor of the Leader-Call.