January 2, 2012

Building The Perfect Super Bowl, Part 1

     Now that the NFL playoffs are upon us, I need to figure out who to root for to make the Super Bowl as super as possible.  Thus begins the Building the Perfect Super Bowl series.  The first post will break down the criteria that makes a Super Bowl awesome.  The second will rate each of the 36 possible matchups based on those criteria.  The third will be an elaborate description of the perfect Super Bowl XLVI as played out in my imagination.

     I'll be using three categories to rate the possible matchups.

1.  Lead Changes and Momentum Swings

     Everybody has a different opinion of what a great football game looks like.  To me, the best football games are those with many huge changes in momentum, whether it's a lead change or a turnover or a trick play.  My template is the 2010 NFC championship between the Saints and Vikings, the most interesting 60 minutes of football I've ever seen.

     When rating the choices for this year's Super Bowl, I'll use each team's ability to create and give up long passes, long runs, sacks, turnovers, big returns, etc.

2.  4th Quarter Drama

     A pretty obvious one.  The longer a game stays close, the more exciting and memorable it becomes.  Any great game is winnable by both teams well into the 4th quarter.

     The ratings in Part 2 will be my assessment of how close the two teams are in skill level.

3.  Storylines

     A great game alone does not make a great Super Bowl.  Take the 2004 matchup between the Patriots and Panthers.  It had 37 points in the final quarter, and a game winning field goal with 4 seconds left.  Yet when you think of the best Super Bowl ever, you think of games like Giants/Patriots or Rams/Titans because they had interesting background stories.  They were fitting conclusions to the stories told over the entirety of their respective seasons.  The Patriots/Panthers Super Bowl was nothing more than a championship game between two great teams.
     In the next post, I'll use some moderately biased numbers to come up with what I think would be the most interesting championship.

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