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Indy Bound?

January 20, 2012

This week’s Conference Championship games, with the winners going to Indianapolis for the 46th Super Bowl (I like Roman numerals, did well with them in school but the NFL has enough similarities with ancient Rome) feature four teams, all with some  connection to Indianapolis. The Super Bowl favorite, New England Patriots have had a storied rivalry with the hometown Colts,  featuring quarterbacks  Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Their AFC Title game opponents, the Baltimore Ravens represent a city that lost the Colts to Indianapolis when the Colts left Baltimore and its storied franchise history and moved, literally in the middle of the night, to Indianapolis. The NFC Championship matches the Giants whose quarterback Eli Manning is Peyton Manning’s brother while the Niners’ coach Jim Harbaugh came so close to leading the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in the 1995 season playoffs. In fact, a “hail mary” pass by Harbaugh nearly connected on the game’s final play in the Colts’ Title Game loss at Pittsburgh. Incredibly, last week, the Giants connected on a last play of the first half, “hail mary” TD, (Manning to Hakeem Nicks), one of four TD catches this post season by the former North Carolina standout.

The Giants and Patriots are an astounding (10-1) in Conference Championship Games. The Giants, who won just 3 of their 14 NFL Championship Games in the pre merger years from 1933-1964 ,have not lost in 4 previous  NFC Championship Games. The Giants beat the Redskins after the 1986 season, the Niners after the 1990 season, the Vikings after the 2000 season and the Packers after the 2007 season. New York/New Jersey allowed just 4 touchdowns in those games winning by shutout in the ’86 and 2000 Title Games. Other than the 2000 season game when the Giants won (41-0), scoring 5 touchdowns, the Giants scored just 4 Td’s in the other 3 games, getting all their points on 5 Matt Bahr field goals in the ’90 season Title Game win at San Francisco. The Giants went on to win in three of their 4 Super Bowl appearances including a win vs New England and a loss to the Ravens. If the Giants win this week there will be a Super Bowl redux against one of those teams.

The Patriots are a stellar (6-1) in AFC Championship games, their only loss at Indianapolis, (where they hope to be for the Super Bowl ) after the 2006 season. New England (3-3) in Super Bowls, won Conference Championship games at Miami in 1985 and at Pittsburgh in both 2001 and 2004. They are (3-0) in home Title tilts, winning vs Jacksonville and their coach,Tom Coughlin in 1996 and vs the Colts in 2003 and San Diego in 2007.

The 49ers will be playing in their 13th Conference Title game and 9th at home. San Francisco (5-7) in Title games, (4-4) at home, will be appearing in one for the first time since 1997. They are undefeated in 5 Super Bowl appearances. The Niners’

are (4-3) vs the Giants in post season winning a wild card round game in 2002 and divisional games in 1981,1984 and 1993. The Giants have one win at each of the three conference playoff levels. The “G Men”  won a wild card round game in 1985, a divisional game in 1986 and the Conference Title Game in 1990.

The Ravens will be playing in their 3rd AFC Title Game, all three on the road. They split the previous two, winning at Oakland in 2000 and losing to eventual Super Bowl Champion, Pittsburgh in 2008. The Ravens blasted the Patriots ( 33-14 ) in a 2009 wild card round game, their lone previous post season meeting.

Andy B


Indy Bound?



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