Defense wins championships. Trent Dilfer? Not so much.
Still, it's high time we give props to the oft-maligned winning quarterback of Super Bowl XXXV, who serves as the patron saint of stopgap playoff signal-callers everywhere.
Apologies to the mean streets of Baltimore, but this feels like the end for the Ravens, unless that defense plans on posting 14-plus. Ray Lewis and friends were a sight to behold in Y2K, surrendering just 165 points all season (a jaw-dropping 10.3 points per game, including four shutouts). Ray Ray alongside Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams equal big problems for Denver running back Terrell Davis, but this Broncos team had a wise-old Elway playing out of mind and body -- a man of destiny.
Our take: In this magical world of the Internet, Elway's quest for a third title (with a massive *) will continue past Baltimore in an organ-grinder of a matchup.
Here's the bad news: It doesn't get any easier for the winner, set to face either the '84 49ers or their '89 counterparts. A red-and-gold bees' nest up ahead.
Bottom line: If we're still talking about Dilfer a week from today, nothing in this world makes sense.