The Road to Super Bowl LVII

Thirty-two magnificent gladiators entered the arena to do battle. Fourteen survivors of the initial free-for-all skirmishes – the cream of the crop, the best and the baddest – would do battle yet again for the honor to be crowned the year’s king. And now we are down to just 4 weary warriors, wounded all, but wisened and willing still to take more punishment for that elusive crown. It is time for Championship Sunday, when the Kansas City Chiefs clash with the Cincinnati Bengals for the American Football Conference (AFC) crown; while the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers slug it out for the rival National Football Conference (NFC) title. And for the victors, the right to play in the ultimate, the final game of the season – the Super Bowl.

The Cincinnati Bengals, the defending AFC titlists, demolished the pre-tourney favorites Buffalo Bills 27-10 to set a finals date with the more-fancied Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs, perennial AFC contenders for the past 5 years with Patrick Mahomes at the helm, earned the ticket to meet the Bengals with a closer 27-20 thumping of the Jacksonville Jaguars. And as top seeds in the AFC, the Chiefs take homecourt advantage in this game. However, with Mahomes suffering from a questionable ankle injury, odds favor the visiting Bengals, who are riding on a 10-game winning streak that has produced an infectious swagger and a superior mental mindset amongst the Bengal players and fans.

The Bengals’ cool, yet superbly-confident quarterback, Joe Burrow, may not have as sterling a record as Mahomes, but it seems that he has the Chiefs’ number, having beaten Mahomes and the Chiefs in all 3 career encounters they have had so far, the biggest one in last year’s AFC championship saga. This will be an exciting quarterback duel-of-a-rematch, with Mahomes pitting his MVP and Super Bowl ring versus Burrow’s unblemished record against the Chiefs and a Super Bowl appearance last year.

The top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles totally embarrassed the New York Giants enroute to a 38-7 dominating, almost-boring win, It is the largest margin of victory ever in a playoff game in the NFL. The victory set them up to meet the streaking San Francisco 49ers, proud owners of a close, yet convincing 19-12 triumph over the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles started the season sizzling hot, amassing 9 straight, crushing wins from September to November. However, an injury to star signal-caller Jalen Hurts brought their record down a notch, but they still ended the season with the best record in the entire NFL.

The 49ers, on the other hand, own the leagues’ longest current winning streak at 12 wins, even better than the Bengals’ 10. Again, as in the AFC’s Bengals versus Chiefs clash, the Eagles hold the homecourt advantage. But the visiting 49ers bring with them the longest current winning streak to the field.

And, as in the AFC championship game, this has an intriguing quarterback match-up, as Jalen Hurts, the Eagles’ star QB MVP contender, meets Brock Purdy, the 49ers’ prized Rookie of the Year contender. Hurts presence alone has been a great confidence builder, a stabilizer for the Eagles. Brock on the other hand, has been the rock in the 49ers’ Cinderella story. No one expected them to get this far, but Brock’s fairy tale rags-to-riches, Mr Irrelevant story has inspired the team to heights they never dreamed possible for the season.

The Chiefs versus the Bengals, the Eagles against the 49ers. All four teams will ride on the broad shoulders of 4 outstanding young quarterbacks. Gone from the list are the likes of the multi-awarded Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and company. Still in the running are Mahomes at age 27, Burrow at 26, Hurts at 24 and Purdy at only 23 years of age; representing football’s new era.

This weekend’s clash for the conference titles will produce 2 worthy protagonists for the right to play in the prestigious Super Bowl this Feb 11. Who shall it be? The hometown heroes from Philadelphia and Kansas City? Or the streaking distinguished visitors from Frisco and Cincinnati? Which QB will stamp his class over the others? Whose experience will prevail: Mahomes or Burrow? And who’s the hungrier among the younger ones: Hurts or Purdy? Gentlemen, place your bets.

Cover photo courtesy of NBC Sports. Other photos courtesy of NBC Sports, Sports Buzzer, Star Tribune, The Guardian, Yahoo! Sports, Sent-Trib, NPR and Youtube.


  1. Weeks ago, perhaps a month, I told a neighbor Dallas, San Francisco, and several others would not be in the Superbowl. We knew, most likely, Philidelphia, Kansas City, Cincinatti, would be the most likely Superbowl contenders. We looked at stats, but also who the quarterbacks and head coaches were. Tendencies. Of course, now Kansas City and Philadelphia are in. It will be an interesting game. I think Philadelphia with Kansas City’s qb ankle problems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks like the Eagles, from my viewpoint. They simply overpowered the Giants and the 49ers in their last 2 games. They were very systematic in dealing the 2 routs, while the Chiefs struggled against both the Jaguars and the Bengals.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.