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'98 Broncos vs. '00 Ravens highlights race to greatness

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.

Dilfer and his 2000 Baltimore Ravens have reached the Elite Eight of NFL Bracketology to decide the greatest team of the Super Bowl era. Their opponent? The 1998 Broncos, led by a 38-year-old John Elway in his 16th NFL season (listen up, Peyton Manning).

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.

On the other side of the bracket, the '85 Bears face the '81 49ers for the right to take on the winner of the '76 Raiders and '99 Rams

Bottom line: If we're still talking about Dilfer a week from today, nothing in this world makes sense.

Voting ends March 25 at 5 p.m. ET, so put down EVERYTHING you're doing and weigh in.

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