For the longest time, heck basically for as long as I've been following football, the center of power has resided in the AFC. The AFC had the better defenses, the better players, heck, they were just overall tougher (no disrespect intended to any over six-foot, 300 lbs muscular men intended…if you are a kicker, though…). The NFC was seen as a fun conference to watch play each other, man can they light it up, but when faced with the overwhelming AFC defenses, they would crumble like a house of cards.
Then came 2011, and with it, the 2012 playoffs, and looking at the teams representing each conference, I have to give a very large edge to the NFC for quality of teams and level of experience.
I mean, just look at the NFC teams from top to bottom. They have three Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Drew Brees (New Orleans) and Eli Manning (NY Giants). Two of the other three teams boast an offense that can explode for 40 points a game (Detroit and Atlanta) and the final team represents an AFC team at its peak with the intensity of defense and the quality of running they bring to the table (San Francisco). Any of these teams could advance in the NFC.
Then there's the AFC.
Yes, they have a combined 7 SuperBowl appearances between the 6 teams (with 5 wins), but all those were done by only two of the QB's, Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) and Tom Brady (New England). Outside of them, and maybe Joe Flacco (Baltimore), who does have a wealth of playoff experience, all you have are three teams represented by two rookies (TJ Yates for Houston and Andy Dalton for Cincinnati) and a second year guy who many doesn't consider a QB (Tim Tebow of Denver)
Doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the AFC's chances, does it.
The one thing that is constant and what makes sports the greatest show on turf is that it's unpredictable; you never know when a team is going to step it up. So, with that being said, I guess anything is possible once the players take the field but, just looking at the numbers, the AFC is going to have to really step it up if they are going to prevent the NFC from winning back to back SuperBowls.
It'll be great defense vs greater offense when these two conferences collide and may the most productive team survive.
Stay tuned in to CraveOnline for continued analysis on this weeks playoff action as well as the every week leading up to the big game.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS