It's Championship Sunday. Hey, remember when the Bears were here two years ago? Good times.
Anyway, in two weeks Super Bowl 47 (excuse me, Super Bowl XLVII) will be played, involving two of the four teams playing today, neither of whom will be the Bears. Between the Falcons, Ravens, Patriots and 49ers, the teams have a combined 14 Super Bowl appearances.
And even though we're not actually at the game yet (There's another kind of Bowl that gets played next week), here's some of the essential information about it...
- Teams: Baltimore Ravens/New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons/San Francisco 49ers
- Date: Sunday, February 3, 2013
- Kickoff time: 6:30 EST / 5:30 CST
- Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana
- Channel: CBS
- Announcers: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
- Current odds: Patriots vs. 49ers 5-6; Patriots vs. Falcons 9-4; Ravens vs. 49ers 6-1; Ravens vs. Falcons 9-1
- Halftime show performance: Destiny's Child and Beyonce
- National anthem: Alicia Keys
- Tickets: TiqIQ.com
Of course, for more on today's games and the teams' potential Super Bowl runs, please check out our SBN affiliates Baltimore Beatdown (Ravens), Pats Pulpit (Patriots), Niners Nation (49ers) and The Falcoholic (Falcons).
Baltimore's only Super Bowl run came behind that great 2000 defense (and some hanger-on of a quarterback named Trent Dilfer), led by a dominant Ray Lewis and featuring an interception return for a touchdown by Duane Starks and a kickoff return by Jermaine Lewis. Rookie running back Jamal Lewis started right away in 2000 and gave the Ravens 1,364 yards and 6 touchdowns, as well as 101 rushing yards and a touchdown in the big game.
Their opponent in today's AFC championship game, the Patriots... well, where do we begin with them? The 2000s have been nothing but great for the Patriots, having made five Super Bowl appearances since 2001, taking out the Greatest Show on Turf and triumphing over the Carolina Panthers and Donovan McNabb's Philadelphia Eagles. Since then however, they've run into the New York Giants, apparently their kryptonite - they've lost their two most recent appearances to that team. With the Giants not in the mix, can the Patriots regain the crown after losing to the Giants in last year's Super Bowl?
On the NFC side, the Falcons are looking to make their second Super Bowl appearance - the first being 1998, when they lost to the John Elway Denver Broncos. The last couple of years haven't been kind to the Falcons, who've made the playoffs as a top seed and a wild card only to have it come crashing down around them in the playoffs, but this year's already been a different story. Can they push through to the Super Bowl?
The Niners have had it worse, not making the Super Bowl game since 1994 when Jerry Rice and Steve Young combined for three touchdowns en route to a 49-26 waxing of the San Diego Chargers. Mike Shanan was the offensive coordinator and Gary Kubiak was the quarterbacks coach, for a point of reference. Colin Kaepernick took hold of the offense after Alex Smith left with a concussion and never gave the spot back to Smith. Can the dual-threat keep the Niners' offense clicking?
Today's games are as follows:
NFC Championship Game:
San Francisco 49ers At Atlanta Falcons
Time: 3 P.M. E.T. / 2 P.M. C.T.
AFC Championship Game:
Baltimore Ravens At New England Patriots
Time: 6:30 P.M. E.T. / 5:30 P.M. C.T.
Who are your Conference Championship picks? And don't forget to come back for our Conference Championship Weekend Open Threads and recap.