Seattle. New England. Indianapolis. Green Bay. These teams stand on the edge of glory. One more win and they get a trip to the Super Bowl. But obviously that win will not come easy, as all these teams are scrapping for their place in history. Legacies will be on the line, especially for the field generals in Sunday’s Conference Title games. Rodgers, Wilson, and Brady all have some Super Bowl jewelery. Luck has yet to get a shot at his ring. But is all this talk about history and pressure to be a champion just media driven?
These four quarterbacks would have you believe that they prepare for a big game just like any other. That is what coaches have driven into their football brains since high school. That is the best way for them to prepare because it is just another game. The field is the same. Each side of the ball has 11 men. There are no special goal posts flown in for the NFC or AFC Championship Games. But in the backs of these QBs’ minds there is an added pressure. To be considered among the best ever, they need to win Title games then do the same in the Super Bowl. They can act like there is no added pressure, but it is there.
Even the quarterback who ends up with the Lombardi Trophy in a couple of weeks won’t be satisfied. Neither will the fans or we in the media. It is never enough to win a Super Bowl. The talk of multiple rings is always mentioned once the next season starts. Historic greats like Joe Montana are hard comparisons for players still trying to make their mark. Whatever these stars do, it will never be enough. Even Tom Brady gets a little flak for failing to get his team to another Super Bowl victory after winning three very early in his career.
The score board is all that matters in the end and no fan will care if Rodgers loses the NFC Title Game on a blocked field goal. Not one writer will worry much about a failed fourth and inches attempt by a running back late in the game that could cause Brady to miss another Super Bowl try. The scoreboard will be all that most remember in a few weeks and whether their quarterback was able to get the job done or not. FYI, three of these guys won’t get the job done in the end. Only one will end up a winner after the last second ticks off the Super Bowl clock. A game of inches is hard on all players, especially quarterbacks.
I will admit that all this legacy talk is mostly for us in the media. But it is in the backs of the minds of each quarterback that takes the field Sunday. They have no choice but to be in the “moment” of these Title Games. Thinking ahead even a little is a good way to have an awful game. They must focus on each play, situation, and drive, in order to keep their team’s march to the Super Bowl alive. But each of these guys have a sense of history and want their names mentioned with the best of all time. They can’t think about that stuff right now with games still to play. Rest assured all those thoughts will be prevalent once the off season begins though, just ask Peyton Manning. That off season will start Sunday night for two of these elite quarterbacks.