LOS ANGELES: On this Sunday, the NFL’s 100th season plays its final “real” football game. Sure, the Super Bowl is two weeks away. But that stopped being a football game a long time ago. Now it is a cultural entertainment event. People who do not watch football all year show up to parties and ruin the day for true leatherheads. These know-nothings babble incessantly during the game while demanding silence during the commercials. To paraphrase feminists, the know-nothings scream and shout during a halftime show that is as necessary to football as a bicycle is to a fish.
Obsessions over the best commercial give way to possible halftime show wardrobe malfunctions. These same people then complain that the game itself is boring while not truly understanding what it is.
One week from today is the Pro Bowl, which suffers from the reverse problem.
Even many die-hard fans do not care about the game. The best players often refuse to play in the game. It used to be a free trip to Honolulu, Hawaii. Now it is in Orlando, Florida. By moving the game from the week after the Super Bowl to the week before it, the players in the Super Bowl cannot play in the Pro Bowl.
The game itself is lighthearted fun, and the weekend of activities leading up to it is great for fans. However, it often resembles a game of two-hand touch or flag football until the fourth quarter.
Today, this Sunday is when real football is played
The Vince Lombardi Trophy is two weeks away. This Sunday, we find out who will be the contestants. The Conference Title Games are pure football. There are no pop singers, bets about commercials, or hangers-on who ask stupid questions. These are the big games that real football fans wait all season for.
The AFC Title Game is for the Lamar Hunt Trophy. Hunt was the Founder of the American Football League (AFL) and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs. He coined the term that forever changed the AFL-NFL Championship Game to the Super Bowl.
The NFC Title Game Trophy is named after Papa Bear George Halas. The late Chicago Bears owner also coached the team for 40 years in four 10-year stretches with breaks in between.
The AFL came into existence in 1960, and the teams in this year’s AFC Title Game are both old AFL rivals.
The Dallas Texans and the Houston Oilers no longer exist by name, but the same families own these teams. After three years in Dallas, Hunt moved his team to Kansas City and renamed them the Chiefs. Lamar Hunt passed away in 2006, and his son Clark Hunt has run the team since.
In 1997, Bud Adams took the team he founded and moved them from Houston to Tennessee. They played in Memphis for one year before moving to Nashville permanently. In 1999 Adams renamed his team the Tennessee Titans. Adams passed away in 2013, and since then group ownership led by his two daughters controls the team.
The NFC Title Game teams have traditions that run even deeper.
The San Francisco 49ers began in the short-lived All-American Football Conference (AAFC) in 1946. After the AAFC folded, the 49ers entered the NFL in 1950. After 64 years of playing in San Francisco itself, in 2014 the 49ers moved one hour South to Santa Clara near San Jose. They have kept the San Francisco name.
The Packers are older than the National Football League itself.
Founded by Curly Lambeau in 1919, the Packers were an independent team until joining the NFL in 1921. They have stayed in the tiny town of Green Bay ever since. They used to play some home games in Milwaukee, but now only play in Green Bay. Although the town only has 100,000 people, the people own the team. The fans are the stockholders. They play in Lambeau Field, named after their founder.
They compete for the Lombardi Trophy, named after their legendary coach.
Schoolkids in Green Bay are taught that if you touch a Packer, you go to heaven.
The Conference Title games do not need a pop culture halftime show or any other nonsense. They are what true football fans love: football. With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, on this Sunday free of any unnecessary non-football distractions, we play real football.
With that, here is the NFL 2019-2020 Conference Title Games Preview and Bettor’s Guide with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Both Conference Title games will be played on Sunday, December 19, 2020.
AFC: Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (-7) at 3:00pm on CBS.
The 9-7 Titans play smashmouth on offense with bruiser Derrick Henry. The 12-4 Chiefs have a pinball machine offense led by superhuman Patrick Mahomes. Yes, the Titans shocked the Chiefs in Kansas City earlier in the year. Yes, the Titans went on the road and stunned New England and Baltimore. They hit both teams in the mouth. Throw all of that out. The Chiefs can score at will. They overcame a 24-0 deficit last week with barely a shrug. They did it before halftime. The best hope for the Titans is to win the coin toss, receive the ball, and mount time-consuming drives that end in touchdowns. If they can keep the ball for 40 minutes, they have a shot. Otherwise, the Chiefs will finish what they did not in the AFC Title Game last year. Chiefs cover.
NFC: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (-7.5) at 6:30pm on FOX.
Both teams are 13-3, but the 49ers are heavy favorites for a reason. Earlier in the year, the 49ers defeated the Packers 37-8. As great as Aaron Rodgers is, the 49ers have a deeper roster. Their defense is nasty, and they have three running backs who can all pound the ball. Jimmy Garoppolo has never played a game of this magnitude, but he has so many weapons at his disposal. Weather will not be a factor. On the injury front, the 49ers are actually healthier than they were a few weeks ago. They got back key pieces of their defense from injury. Rodgers is the better quarterback, but the 49ers are the overall better team, especially on defense. 49ers cover.
Lead Image: Bracket by Sporting News.com