With the Super Bowl on the near horizon, it is time to pause and take look back at the season. A season of big dreams, crushing defeats, inspired cities and a showing of sheer athleticism and will has led to the end of some eras and the beginning of what may be historic careers. The NFC Championship game saw a West Coast showdown between two young quarterbacks: Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams boast two of the best defenses in the league. Meanwhile, the AFC Championship game was another storybook matchup between Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos.
No one really felt a rollercoaster ride this season like Pennsylvania. With the Eagles starting the season 1-3 and the Steelers at 0-4, the outlook on the season was bleak. Chip Kelly’s Eagles turned the tables around and went 9-3 in the remaining 12 weeks, clinching the NFC East Division in Dallas against their rival Cowboys with a late interception by Brandon Boykin. They went on to lose, however, in the opening round of the playoffs to the New Orleans Saints at home.
The Steelers went on to finish the season 8-8, missing the playoffs by a missed 46-yard field goal attempt 2,500 miles away in San Diego by Kansas City’s Ryan Succop. Dick LeBeau’s defense, which normally finds itself in the top five of the entire league, fell to 20th in the rankings allowing around 23 points per game. Look for Pittsburgh to find some young talent to mold into their defensive roster, as well make some shifts in their offense, which also ended in the 20 spot this season.
More uplifting stats can be found in the 13-3 Denver Bronco’s Peyton Manning, who had a Hall of Fame season, and possibly his last. With a passer rating of 115.1, Manning threw for 5,477 yards and a record breaking 55 touchdowns, 16 more than the second spot holder Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. Manning, who had a historic 2013 season, eyes what would only be his second Super Bowl victory. After undergoing neck surgery in 2011, which fused several vertebrae together, some speculate that this could be his last run.
The Seattle Seahawks, also 13-3, edged out their 12-4 division rival San Francisco 49ers for the NFC West Division and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. On January 19, we saw these two faceoff for the third time this season deciding the Seattle Seahawks as the true winner of the NFC West and the conference as a whole. Tune in to Fox on Sunday, February 2 to watch as Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos take on Richard Sherman’s Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.