As the regular season finished up last week, New York Giants fans got another win to gloat about in their rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys. This one stung in a pretty spectacular manner, too, since the G-Men's win meant that the Cowboys would be nowhere to be found in this year's playoff schedule.
Things get started in this wild card weekend with a quartet of games that offer plenty of excitement, plus the promise of water cooler talk to last the entire week. Cincinnati plays at Houston to open things up and then Detroit gets to play in New Orleans. If you can find two better examples in the last ten years of cities with everything hanging out on the line playing each other in the playoffs, your memory is better than mine. The Saints' first season after Hurricane Katrina ravaged their city was kicked off with a bang and finished almost as near as one can ask for, without winning the big prize.
Detroit, on the other hand, has had their troubles well-documented as a result of the auto industry's troubles. A win for either side will represent just another level by which the respective cities have overcome the tumultuous previous decade.
The Atlanta Falcons get things kicked off on Sunday with a game against the aforementioned Giants. That great game, though, serves merely as a precursor to the ongoing drama of Tim Tebow. The Pittsburgh Steelers (they of the most championships of all time in the NFL) will face off in Denver against the Broncos, hoping to end the miraculous season of a team that virtually no one picked to even make the playoffs.
Let's be clear: This is merely the wild card weekend of the playoffs. Details haven't even been given on the top dogs in each conference, which consist of the Green Bay Packers, the San Francisco 49ers, the Baltimore Ravens, and the New England Patriots. The Packers and the Patriots are obviously the toast of their respective towns, but their paths to Super Bowl XLVI are by no means guaranteed.
The best time of the year for a football fan is upon us. It's only going to get better.