For as long as I could remember I’ve been a fan of the NFL. It all started back when I was 9. I was flipping through the channels and came across a San Diego Chargers game. I instantly loved their uniforms and from that day on I was a fan. Now I know the Chargers didn’t really have a great season, but I love them anyway and root for them regardless of circumstance.
The great thing about football though is that there are 31 other teams and I’ve watched them play too. Some of these players have absolutely defined my love for the sport and I admire their skill every time they take the field. LaDainian Tomlinson is my favorite player of all time without question. The amazing things I’ve seen that guy do on the field had me trying to emulate him despite not having any of the skill he possesses.
My other favorite has to be Brett Favre. While there are aspects of his game that would keep him from being on a lot of people’s “top 5 quarterbacks” list, he is undoubtedly my favorite QB. No one I have ever seen has been able to grab my attention like he has. The magic he could do throwing the ball because he wasn’t scared to take chances was such a thrill to watch. It reminds me of backyard football and all of the memories I have playing football on the streets with my friends.
I mention these guys because after Today’s playoff games we move into an AFC championship game that features the two premiere Quarterbacks of our generation. These guys for as long as I can remember have defined the position and are two of the greatest to ever play the game. Tom Brady has been a standard of excellence in the post season over his career, while Peyton Manning is easily the greatest regular season QB of all time.
Every single time these two face off it catches the eye of every football fan, and next week should be no different. There will be a different feel to this game for me at least, because I have a strong feeling this is the last time we will see it. I think back to all of the other games they have played and it is sad that this rivalry will likely come to an end. I have so much respect for Manning as a player that I would hate to see him go, but his body looks like it is finally catching up to his age. While his mind for the game might be unmatched, he simply isn’t throwing as well.
This is already a season that saw 3 greats in Jonathan Vilma, Reggie Wayne, and Charles Woodson retire. I think it would be fitting that Peyton Manning would retire the same year as the man who helped him become established as one of the greatest ever. Manning to Wayne was automatic, and when they split up it didn’t seem right. Actually, Manning being a Bronco is still a bit weird for me to see because I’ll always associate him with the Colts. The wars he would go through with my Chargers and headaches he left me with after some of those games are things I will likely never forget.
I see that a lot of these great players that have established my love for the game are slowly being cycled out. While it is sad, it’s also exciting to know that there are younger players out there that are amazing and a treat to watch on the field. As for my prediction for this year, I think the Cardinals beat the Patriots in the Superbowl. Knowing me i’ll be way off but it’s cool because that’s why they play the game.