The NBA Finals are set: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors. On one side, you have the best basketball player in the world (LeBron James) appearing in his fifth straight Finals; on the other, freshly minted league MVP Stephen Curry and a deep supporting cast that made Steve Kerr's team the story of the regular season. It's a dream title matchup for basketball fans.
How about 50-plus points apiece in Super Bowl 50? Give me a shootout, baby!
Of the preceding 49 Super Bowls, Pittsburgh and Dallas played each other in a trio of 'em -- and all three were classics. The first two -- X and XIII -- defined a decade. Had those '70s Cowboys won either of those meetings, they'd be regarded as the mythical Best Team Ever. However, they did not win either of those meetings ... the Best Team Ever did. The two teams' third showdown -- Super Bowl XXX -- solidified the early-'90s Cowboys' place in the pantheon of all-time great dynasties.
Romo vs. Roethlisberger would rightly get the headlines, but from a historical perspective, it'd be the chase for Pittsburgh's seventh vs. Dallas' sixth. Landry and Noll watching from their recliners up on Cloud Nine. The Cowboys' Glamour & Glitz vs the Steelers' Might & Grit. In other words, why fix what ain't broke?
» En route to Super Sunday, the Colts exorcise demons against their nemesis, New England, with a rousing playoff victory.
» Andrew Luck takes the next step in becoming the NFL's premier quarterback.
» Old friends Bruce Arians and Chuck Pagano meet on the game's biggest stage. Pagano, of course, saved Arians' career by scooping him up after the Steelers let him go in 2012. Then, when Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, Arians took over interim head-coaching duties, led the Colts to the playoffs and earned Coach of the Year honors -- thus allowing Arians to land his first full-time head-coaching gig in Arizona.
» Cardinals QB Carson Palmer, who was undefeated in 2014 as a starting QB before his season-ending injury, finally fully realizes his potential as the first pick in the 2003 draft.
I've probably never been more disappointed in my life after the end of a game than I was following our loss to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V. Both squads were good, but we were really the better team.
There were just so many plays in that game that could've turned things the other way. There was the improbable touchdown catch by John Mackey. Mackey grabbed the ball after it was deflected by a Colts teammate, which would have nullified the play -- as so-called "double touch" passes were illegal at the time -- if officials hadn't ruled that defensive back Mel Renfro had tipped the ball before it reached Mackey. There was the fumble by Dallas back Duane Thomas at the goal line -- after which Baltimore was awarded possession, even though Cowboys center Dave Manders was the one who handed officials the ball after the play was over. There was losing on a field goal by Jim O'Brien, who'd had an extra-point attempt blocked earlier in the game.
I'll never forget watching Bob Lilly throw his helmet about 30 feet in the air after the game ended. I'd like to see the Colts and Cowboys -- two good franchises -- go toe-to-toe again, and find out if Dallas could atone for that loss, 45 years later.
From a strategic standpoint, I believe the chess match between Ryan and Garrett/Scott Linehan ( Bills' D vs. Cowboys' O) would provide the kind of contrast that typically produces a terrific game on Super Bowl Sunday. Given the fanfare surrounding both teams, I believe this would be a fascinating game to watch.