Few will argue that the best teams in the NFL reached the “Final Four”, the conference championship games. It also offers an interesting take on old and new in the NFL, with Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson being a new breed of quarterbacks regarding their skill-set, while Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, representing the old guard, and relying on their arms and not their legs approach.
Both will be pitted against each other. There’s no hate between the Broncos and the Patriots, at least nothing that we know of. Manning and Brady haven’t shown animosity against each other – only a healthy rivalry, the kind most like to see between teams and players. On the field (although they’re never on it at the same time) and nothing else. Both Manning and Brady aren’t really reclusive from the media. Brady is with one of the more famous Supermodels in the world, and his lifestyle has been drawn into the spotlight time and time again, giving him an arrogant, elitist persona coming out through the media. Arrogant some might call it, but that’s probably about being part of the Patriots as well.
Manning is outspoken and loves the spotlight, and he seems to feel oh so comfortable in it, but it’s never in a brash way. Funny, talented. Few don’t think he’ll be turning for a media job when his NFL career is over. He and Brady are in the league for around the same time, and have been through quite a lot of games together, including some very memorable playoff clashes. This one has a feeling of one last gunfight in cold between the two.
Out West, there’s a very different vibe in the rivalry, that centers on two teams from the same division. Two teams that really don’t like each other, and their physical style of football is the perfect way to let it all out. Not to say the Pats and Broncos aren’t physical football teams, but they are about the men behind center, first and foremost (although one might argue that the real genius behind the Pats’ success is Belichick). The Seahawks and 49ers are led by two former College coaches, and there’s more of a system feel to it all.
Alex Smith did well in Harbaugh’s system, which goes to show that Colin Kaepernick might be a special talent (although is hasn’t come out too much this season), but replaceable in the eyes of many. Running game, defense, offensive line. Those are the keys to the 49ers success over the last three years. The quarterback is just a bonus. But Kaepernick feels and acts like a star. Too much for the taste of some. Kissing his muscles and other celebrations don’t sit right with some people, who want a bit more “class” from national sporting figures, what “class” means.
You won’t hear any complaints about Russell Wilson. Maybe it’s about being in Seattle, a city that’s even further away from the national spotlight than San Francisco; maybe it’s about being under Peter Carroll, who doesn’t draw the attention that Harbaugh does, intentionally or by chance. Wilson is also a read-option guy, but without the attitude. He has plenty of other players on the team to do the talking for him, but Seattle’s record during his time as quarterback, especially at home (15-1 in the regular season) goes to show it’s simply a case of someone who doesn’t brag on the field, but plays just as well as Kaepernick.