This article is part of our Breakfast Table series.
From: Scott Pianowski
To: Mark Stopa
Sent: Wed, Jan 15, 2014 5:11 pm
Subject: Breakfast of Champions
We didn't get much action during the Divisional Round, but maybe they were just paying it forward. The Final Four is buzz-worthy and headline-friendly. Brady-Manning is the best rivalry of our generation (any sport), and the Seahawks and Niners have the best team rivalry in the NFL right now.
I loathe the ring-driven narrative of NFL life, but it is what it is. There's a significant amount of legacy riding with Brady and Manning over the next three weeks. If Peyton gets to a second title, the stat tailwind could push him to the Greatest of All Time label. But if he retires with just one ring, that's a light bag.
Brady's career is a little silly in the rear-view mirror, of course. His overlord days came after the titles, not that there's any shame in the two losses to the Giants. But if he never wins that fourth title, if he takes all those swings and never connects again, that's going to be held against him, too.
Most of the logical signs point to the Broncos (look at the receivers and try not to laugh), but I'll admit the fan in me is looking for a New England angle. Belichick over Fox, that's convenient (though Manning might overrule Fox in a key offensive spot). The Pats had a terrific game plan in the first meeting, but obviously Denver will adjust - and