Football season is nearing its conclusion. The high school season ended last month. The college football season ended this past Monday night with Georgia beating Alabama to win the Bulldogs’ first National Championship since the 1980 season.
The final weeks of the NFL season begin this weekend with the wild card round of the playoffs. It will all lead to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles on Feb. 13. Beginning last season, 14 teams now make the playoffs as opposed to the way it was from 1990-2019 when just 12 teams total made the playoffs. There are seven teams from the AFC and seven teams from the NFC who are battling it out to reach the Super Bowl.
In the AFC the Tennessee Titans earned the one seed and a bye in the wild card round. They wait in Nashville to find out who they will host next weekend. The top seed in the NFC is the Green Bay Packers. Like the Titans, the Packers will wait to see who makes the trek up to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
The two seed in the AFC is the Kansas City Chiefs, champions of Super Bowls IV and LIV. They will host the seven seeded Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night at 7:15 p.m. Central Time. Pittsburgh has won six Super Bowls in their history.
In the NFC the two seed belongs to the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by he who never ages, Tom Brady. Brady and the Buccaneers will host the seven seed, Philadelphia Eagles, on Sunday afternoon at noon Central Time. Philadelphia has won one Super Bowl in the history, a few years ago against Tom Brady when he was with the Patriots.
The three seed in the AFC is the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo is famous for losing four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s. Last season the Bills lost in the AFC championship game to Kansas City. This week Buffalo will host the six seed New England Patriots on Saturday night at 7:15 p.m., Central Time. The Patriots have won six Super Bowls in this century.
Over in the NFC the three seed is a team that wears a star on their helmet. The Dallas Cowboys, who won five Super Bowls between 1971 and 1995, will host the San Francisco 49ers, who also have five Super Bowl trophies in their collection. That game will take place on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in the central time zone.
Rounding out the wild card weekend is the matchups of the four seeds vs. the five seeds. The AFC four seed is the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincinnati has never won a super bowl and hasn’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season when they beat a team called the Houston Oilers (RIP). This season’s Bengals will host the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders won two Super Bowls during their first stay in Oakland and one Super Bowl while they played in Los Angeles. The story of the Raiders’ travels is for another column for another day. Cincinnati and Las Vegas will open the weekend of football when they kick off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The NFC four seed is the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams have won one Super Bowl in their history, it was Super Bowl XXXIV when they were known as the St. Louis Rams. This year’s version of the Rams will host the Arizona Cardinals in the final game of wild card weekend on Monday night at 7:15 p.m., Central Time.
If you are like me and don’t have a team in the playoffs this season, you might be looking for a team to root for. In my case when it comes to years that the Texans and Saints aren’t in the playoffs I look for a team that hasn’t won the Super Bowl in a long time or never won the Super Bowl.
This year the list of playoff teams who have never won a Super Bowl are the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans. The Dallas Cowboys, Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers belong to the club of Super Bowl Champions who haven’t won one in the 21st century.
I won’t be rooting for Tennessee for personal reasons. I’m not regularly a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and I kind of enjoy the storyline of each season being their year before the football deities pull a Lucy and swoop that ball away. So that leaves me with five teams to choose from for my rooting interest. In the AFC I’ll be rooting for Cincinnati. I’ve got a friend who covers the Bengals for ESPN and their fan chant of “Who dey” is similar to the New Orleans Saints chant of “Who Dat.”
In the NFC I’ll be rooting for the Arizona Cardinals because they have a few former Texans on that roster. Arizona vs. Cincinnati would be quite the Super Bowl.
Whatever teams make the Super Bowl, it should be an entertaining game. The road to that Super Bowl starts this weekend.