By Michael H. Osinski
I don’t think I am unlike a lot of folks, but in what is now the Twitter world, I track my personal timeline with football games over the years. When I was young we spent every Christmas at my Great Aunt Catherine’s house. The X-mas I remember most is the one when I postponed eating because I was watching a 6-quarter classic between the Dolphins and Chiefs. On that day, Ed Podolak was my favorite player.
My Grandpa introduced me to football and analyzing stats. I remember watching a game with him when I said “I like this Stabler guy” after he ran for a TD to put Oakland up 7-6 only to lose to an immaculate reception (that hit the ground).
I got my drivers permit the day after Harvey Martin and Ed “Too Tall” Jones stifled the Orange Crush.
I wrote my first headline (For The San Diego Union) when the Raiders “tanned” the ‘Skins after Marcus Allen (who I played against in High School) ran roughshod over the “Team in DC.”
Truth be told, I have always been about good stories that are sports driven.
For the folks whose point of NFL reference started after 2000, I am reasonably sure it revolves around Manning vs. Brady. The widely acknowledged 2 best QBs of the era. Seven of the Super Bowls since 2001 have involved one of them. The NFL TD pass records have ping-ponged between the two of them for years. The gold standard of playing QB in the NFL can’t be discussed without considering both of them.
I had my Stabler-Bradshaw years. But then they ended. Sorry to say Sunday may be the Last Waltz of Manning-Brady. I feel for all of you. I loved Stabler vs. Bradshaw so much that when it ended, I actually didn’t watch much football (OK, it was maybe a year).
Manning-Brady is about to have its 15th act. Most plays are 3 or 4 so this is a long-ass production. Manning is widely acknowledged as the best statistical QB ever. Brett Favre and Warren Moon are 2 and 3. But, Brady is widely acknowledged as the better QB because he has 3 rings and has a chance to get to his 6th Super Bowl (More than anyone).
To me this sounds like “Mary Ann or Ginger”…”Paper or Plastic.” How do you lose choosing either of them? My stepsons are watching the game this weekend knowing one is beholden to the Patriot mystique and the other roots for the Colts-Broncos Manning. At the end of the day, I just want to see and enjoy the game. I don’t care who actually wins (though my NFL.com team is loaded with Broncos).
I didn’t savor the last Stabler-Bradshaw tilt. I wish I would’ve. It was a great game, but I was blinded by my Raider bias. I can only hope that the Brady-Manning rooters enjoy the game, regardless of result, because it is probably the last meeting between the two best gladiators of an era.