The NFC and AFC Championship games this afternoon will decide which two teams will play for the Lombadi Trophy in Super Bowl XLVII. Will it be the New England Patriots or the Baltimore Ravens from the AFC? San Francisco 49ers or Atlanta Falcons representing the NFC? Which match up makes the most sense for Miami Dolphins fans?
New England Patriots
Let's face it, the Patriots in the Super Bowl never makes sense for Dolphins fans. How can we ever root for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the rest of the AFC East rivals? The Patriots have been the top of the AFC East for way too long, and watching them head to another Super Bowl won't be any fun. And, since the New York Giants didn't make the playoffs, there's no one who is a sure thing to beat the Patriots in the title game, so why take the chance and have them in the Super Bowl?
Since Dolphins fans can't root for the Patriots, it only makes sense that the Ravens have to be the choice, right? Well, maybe not. While University of Miami fans are going to want to see the Ray Lewis Farewell Tour continue for another two weeks, the Ravens winning will simply open up the 2008 draft debate. The Dolphins selected Jake Long with the top overall choice in that draft. With the 18th pick that season, the Ravens selected quarterback Joe Flacco. In the second round, the Dolphins took Phillip Merling, the Ravens grabbed Ray Rice. The Ravens continuing to move forward will bring up the ghosts of that draft.
Moving to the NFC, the 2008 draft debate will be even louder if the Falcons move to the Super Bowl. While the Dolphins took Long, the Falcons selected quarterback Matt Ryan with the third overall pick that year. At the time, the debate for the Dolphins was between Long and defensive end Chris Long - Ryan was not considered worthy of the pick. However, looking back, fans love to debate the Long or Ryan aspect of that draft. If the Falcons move on, it will provide further ammunition that the Dolphins"blew" that draft by not selecting Ryan.
San Francisco 49ers
So, again, we have the easy decision, right? Can't see Ryan go to the Super Bowl, so go 49ers! Not quite. People will quickly gravitate to the "Dolphins should have drafted Colin Kaepernick" bandwagon if San Francisco moves on. Despite the fact that Kaepernick was a second round pick by the 49ers, meaning every team passed on him once, and the Dolphins landed center Mike Pouncey, people will happily declare the Dolphins not grabbing Kaepernick as another horrible draft.
So, who's the winner? I don't think there is one. So long as the Dolphins continue to struggle, there's never going to be a good team heading to the Super Bowl. People are always going to be able to look at a player on every team, and talk about how the Dolphins should have, or could have, or would have.
Instead, at this point, it's time to root for a couple of good games, and a great Super Bowl in two weeks. Of course, that Super Bowl needs to not include the Patriots, but that's another story.