Time to have a little fun as we pass the time and get set for more mini-camps and finally training camp to start up again. It’s time to throw out some options for Super Bowl 43, to be played in Tampa Bay in early February. Yes, not one team has taken a snap in the regular season yet, but what a better time than now to start throwing out possible matchups for the big game? Yes, we’re reaching a bit, but welcome to the snooze button of coming up with hard core news for NFL fans in early June.
1. The Rematch – New England vs New York Giants – What a better way to start this off than with the game that ended the 2007 season (no, we don’t count the Pro Bowl). The Giants and Pats waged a classic battle in Glendale that actually lived up to the hype. You know the Pats will do whatever it takes to get there again in 2008, while the Giants want to prove they were not a one year wonder and they can duplicate the upset from a year ago.
2. High Powered Shootout – San Diego vs Dallas – You can’t tell me that this wouldn’t be a fun Super Bowl to watch – at least it looks like it on paper. The Chargers and Cowboys both have weapons all over the field, and while all the attention would be on Tony Romo and Terrell Owens, the Chargers would be able to be the team that no one talks about – likely just the way they would like it entering Raymond James Stadium.
3. Archie’s Dream – Indianapolis vs New York Giants – Gee, no Manning hype here. Yes, maybe the worst nightmare of a Super Bowl if you get tired easily of Peyton or Eli Manning. This matchup would be dubbed “The Manning Bowl,” but on the field it would be a fun game to watch, as the brothers try and match each other pass for pass. Of course it also would highlight the last two Super Bowl MVP’s as well.
4. Southern Super Bowl – Jacksonville vs Tampa Bay – Two Florida teams playing in the Bucs home stadium sure would make for an interesting atmosphere. The Jags are one of the NFL’s up and coming teams, and they seem ready to take a step to the next level. As for Tampa Bay, they did make the playoffs last season, and while just about no one will pick them to make it to the dance, did anyone have the Eli and the Giants going last season?
5. A Battle of the First-Timers – Cleveland vs New Orleans – The Browns and Saints are two of the NFL’s more “sexy” teams, and two that will have a lot of hype entering the season. Cleveland has no less than 5 prime time games (more than the Pats), and the Saints are expected to come back after a lackluster 2007 and challenge in the somewhat weak NFC South. If the Browns can continue to develop their defense, and the Saints can stay injury-free, this is not that far-fetched as you may think.
6. Loyal Fan Bases Clash – Pittsburgh vs Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers not only comes out of Brett Favre’s shadow, but takes the Pack to the promise land for the first time in 11 years. The Steelers continue to build off of last seasons divison title and playoff birth and land in the big game under second-year head coach Mike Tomlin. With the way these two fan bases travel, it would make for a fun and interesting matchup in Tampa Bay.
7. GQ vs Jessica’s Boy Toy – New England vs Dallas – All the hype on this one would surround Tom Brady and his stoic career as a future Hall of Famer vs Tony Romo and his rise to the top of the league in just a few seasons. Again, who would not want to see this game with stars all over the field? This was a game that many thought we’d see going into the playoffs last season, so maybe it’s just a year late. Nevertheless, I can see this being a good one that comes down to the fourth quarter.
8. In the NFL, Never Say Never – Miami vs St.Louis – Two teams with the top two draft picks entering the April 2008 draft make the biggest one-year turnarounds in NFL history. John Beck comes from nowhere to be a solid, superstar NFL QB, Ronnie Brown leads the NFL in rushing, and the Fins make a monster reversal from 1-15 to a Super Bowl birth. The Rams stay injury-free, Marc Bulger gets time to throw, Steven Jackson tears up the NFC, and the Rams re-become the “Greatest Show on Turf.” Then again, maybe not.