Best weekend of football ever

Michael Guido, Managing & Sports Editor

Hyperbole and exaggeration are commonly thrown around when fans describe their experiences watching sports.

In the past, many have labeled plays, games and seasons as “the greatest ever.”

But when I use the term the “greatest ever” in the context of this column, I’m using it with 100% certainty and I am seeking to accumulate zero exaggerated points.

This past weekend was the greatest weekend of football ever.

Four games, featuring the remaining eight teams in postseason play, all delivered excitement, tensions and suspense in a way a handful of games haven’t delivered in a long time.

In three of the four matches, the game came down to a last-second field goal.

In three of the four games, the road team pulled off an upset.

During the course of the weekend, the two No. 1 seeded teams lost.

Then, it all culminated in a game that has been dubbed the “actual Super Bowl.”

The weekend featured a little of everything: late-game interceptions, blocked punts, multiple lead changes in the final two minutes of regulation and even a quarterback duel that rivaled some of the matchups seen in the glory days of yore, featuring the likes of Brady and Manning.

The teams that survived — the Cincinnati Bengals, the San Francisco 49ers, the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs — all represented fascinating storylines that enhanced the power of their victories.

The Bengals, long regarded as the lowly “Bungles,” burst onto the scene this year with stud quarterback Joe Burrow, running back Joe Mixon and a receiving core that features Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and tight end C.J. Uzomah, among others stars.

After beating Las Vegas to capture a playoff win that had eluded the franchise for 31 years, the Bengals knocked off the top-seeded Tennessee Titans with late game heroics, and sent a signal to the rest of the NFL that the Bengals are here to stay.

Jimmy Garappolo, a quarterback with one foot out the door, has taken the 49ers — a team that needed to win in week 18 to even have a shot at making the playoffs — all the way to the NFC title game.

The incredible talent of Deebo Samuel has piloted the 49ers to the brink of a second Super Bowl berth under head coach Kyle Shanahan and has surprised sports bettors everywhere.

The Rams are looking to give quarterback Matthew Stafford his first championship ring after a maligned career in Detroit, while star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. looks to erase the doubt that many cast on him when he left Cleveland in midseason.

Lastly, the Chiefs look to be a dynasty in the making, with a rout of Pittsburgh and a thrilling victory over Buffalo propelling them to their fourth straight AFC Championship game appearance and possibly their third straight Super Bowl appearance.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes looks to be an all-timer with a stud core that includes Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and head coach Andy Reid.

Overall, it was a weekend one won’t forget.

While the matchups for this coming weekend will most certainly be exciting contests to watch, I’m not sure either game will rival a blocked punt that put a team with momentum in full control, nor will either game gives us a finish that took a 29-26 score with a 1:54 to go in the game and then provided a 42-36 final score.

Football truly is the best.


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