I spent this week gazing into my crystal ball. I peered into the swirling mist for answers. My crystal ball rarely lets me down, in fact, Vegas is trying to get their hands on it right now. At times, it's too cloudy to determine a correct prediction but it's showing me the upcoming weeks pretty clearly.
The first thing it showed me was a Spencer Tigers win over Spirit Lake Park in wrestling Thursday night. That one was easy. (See a 6th straight Lakes title for details.)
However, things got more difficult when I started looking at the NFL this weekend. I had to really concentrate to find the answers to Sunday's conference championship games.
There are many story lines that would be juicy for the two weeks of hype that precedes the Super Bowl. A Harbaugh-brother Super Bowl. A Super Bowl XXXV rematch with the Ravens and Giants. The Niners returning to glory with a first-year head coach. A Super Bowl XLII rematch with the Giants and Patriots. All would be great and compelling.
My crystal ball says it's going to be Tom Brady reclaiming the title. After rising so quickly early in his career to levels not reached by mere mortals, Brady has suffered a few blips on his impecable resume over the past few years. He hasn't won a playoff game since the Giants ended the Patriots dream undefeated season in Super Bowl XLII. He's been upset in the playoffs three consecutive times, starting with that Super Bowl, where the Patriots were favored by 12 points. He also suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss the entire 2008 season.
So, while millions of dollars, superstardom and a supermodel wife are all great and part of the Tom Brady aura, the thing he's after is another Super Bowl. Brady wants to leave no doubt who's the greatest of all time.
Brady slide somewhat under the radar this season, despite having one of his best ever. With the buzz around Aaron Rodgers' great play and 13-0 start, and Drew Brees breaking Dan Marino's passing yards record, Brady just continued to did what he does -- put up huge numbers while winning games. Brees wasn't the only one to break Marino's record this year - Brady also threw for over 5,200 yards.
The stinging playoff losses (to Baltimore in 2010 and the Jets in 2011) have haunted Brady. He's back with a better team than either of the last two years. A win Sunday ties him with Joe Montana for most playoff wins by a quarterback (16). A Super Bowl win would give him the record and his fourth ring. More ways of proving he's the best.
I'll be happy with any four of the potential matchups after Sunday's game, but I see Brady getting revenge on the Giants and starting that "greatest ever" debate once again. You're not going to doubt my crystal ball, are you?