And then there were four.
This season's NFL playoffs have been among the most riveting in recent memory and that intrigue should continue into this weekend's AFC and NFC conference championship games. Only the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons remain in the hunt to go to Super Bowl XLVII, and each team carries its own set of storylines. So I got to thinking, which of the potential Super Bowl match-ups will make for the best (or at least most interesting) game?
Here is my list: (vote for your favorite below on the right)
#1 - Patriots vs. 49ers
As a Patriots fan myself, it is very difficult to remain objective when looking at potential match-ups, but this one in my opinion would make for the most exciting Super Bowl. The two teams met earlier this year in a game that the Patriots overcame a 31-3 deficit, only to eventually lose 41-34. That game was one of the best of the season, but it isn't what would make this game so enthralling. Patriots QB Tom Brady is looking to cement his legacy as perhaps the greatest quarterback of all-time and win his fourth Super Bowl ring, which would tie him with 49ers legend Joe Montana. Oh and by the way, Brady grew up in the Bay area and was a huge 49ers fan.
So between planning this post and actually writing it, up to 12" of snow descended upon Connecticut, so I guess a good New England winter is finally here. What won't be here much longer is the year. We bid goodbye to 2012 tonight and welcome 2013 with celebrations galore.
As the new year starts, much is going on. Here's just some of it:
Justin Bieber: Biebs continues his Believe Tour on January 5, with several dates throughout the month, before heading to Europe.
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George Strait & Martina McBride: George Strait begins his farewell Cowboy Rides Away Tour on January 18. The tour will span two years and the first leg will feature special guest Martina McBride.
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Soundgarden: Soundgarden also has a tour beginning on the 18th: it's Winter 2013 North American Tour. The grunge band will play through mid-February.
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Other Concerts in January:
- Lady Gaga brings her Born This Way Ball Tour to North America beginning on January 11.
- Luke Bryan begins a tour on January 17.
- Muse begins a tour on January 21.
In just two days another Thanksgiving will be upon us. A day to enjoy family, an unreasonable amount of food and a full schedule of NFL football. While I would love to go on a 500 word rant about all my favorite foods from Thanksgiving (pumpkin pie, obviously), I figured I would instead create a perfect schedule to make sure you get the most out of your holiday.
Assuming you are not the person preparing all the food, the morning of Thanksgiving is the time to sit back and rest up; you have a big day ahead of you. Eat something really light for breakfast—no heavy pancakes or waffles. The only exception is if you are offered a plate of bacon. Choose the bacon.
12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.
With just 30 minutes until kick-off, assess the seating situation. If you are with a big group, seating can be at a premium, so be prepared to claim your spot. You don't want to be stuck standing.
With nine weeks of the NFL season now officially in the books, teams have begun to distinguish themselves as contenders or pretenders. There have been some surprises and some disappointments, but it has all been entertaining. Now the NFL enters its unofficial second half of the season, and there is plenty of dramatic story-lines for fans to be excited about.
How good are the Atlanta Falcons?
The Falcons are the lone undefeated team in the NFL, but despite their perfect record many doubt that Atlanta is a true Super Bowl contender. They had to come from behind in the 4th quarter for three straight games against mediocre teams; those teams currently have a combined record of 8-17. The question is: can the Falcons step up when they face tougher competition?
Can Andrew Luck lead the Colts to the playoffs?
The Indianapolis Colts were the worst team in the league last year, winning only two games. The prize for all their losing? QB Andrew Luck, who they recruited with the first overall pick in the draft. Many predicted that he would be good, but few thought he would be this good. He has already led the Colts to five wins this season and a real shot at the postseason. This could be the start of a long and successful career for Luck, and it should be great to watch.
Last week I took a look at how the NFL® referee kerfuffle affected ticket sales at TN.com up to that point in the season. I found the data a little inconclusive, as the sales trend from this season closely matched that of last season up until last week, suggesting that the controversial call made the Monday before last affected sales in a negative way. However, I hypothesized that the trend might just be a season difference.
So what does the data tell us now that the real referees are back and previous disappointments have had a week to turn to delight? Well, as you can see below, there was a definite improvement for a while. The day after the refs returned, orders at TN.com spiked again, and generally did so for a few days afterward. So it can be argued that the return of the refs improved things a bit from last week.
NFL® tickets sold at TN.com for 11 days on and after the MNF controversy, and for a similar period in 2011. Data is normalized.