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Instant Debate

Dream matchup for Super Bowl 50?

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.

This begs the question: What is your dream matchup for Super Bowl 50?

Packers vs. Colts: Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck are the two most fun quarterbacks to watch, as escape artists in the pocket with a willingness to pull the trigger on tight-window throws down the field. Their offenses have never been more stacked. Powered by Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy, Packers coach Mike McCarthy has touted his offense as one with the potential to become the best pro football has ever seen. After adding seven-time Pro Bowler Andre Johnson, five-time Pro Bowler Frank Gore and first-round speedster Phillip Dorsett to an already loaded nucleus, Colts coordinator Pep Hamilton quipped that his offense is the " Greatest 'Shoe on Earth."

How about 50-plus points apiece in Super Bowl 50? Give me a shootout, baby! Golden anniversary of the Super Bowl? Easy. Gotta be the Steelers vs. Cowboys. Pittsburgh (six Lombardis, eight appearances), Dallas (five Lombardis, eight appearances) and San Francisco (five Lombardis, six appearances) are the defining teams of the Super Bowl Era -- but with no disrespect to the Niners, it's just gotta be Steel and Silver over Gold. (And besides, the Niners already have a stadium-sized presence in the big game.)

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? Indianapolis Colts vs. Arizona Cardinals: A lot of great potential storylines here ...

» After not having his contract extended this offseason, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano guides Indy to the Super Bowl -- and thus, earns a hefty new deal -- just three years after beating cancer.

» En route to Super Sunday, the Colts exorcise demons against their nemesis, New England, with a rousing playoff victory.

» Andre Johnson, Trent Cole and Frank Gore show the young Colts how to win in the playoffs.

» 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. If we're talking about dream matchups, I don't think there's a better scenario from a writer's perspective than getting a Rex Ryan-Bruce Arians matchup in the title game, right? At the end of the day, we get into this to hear the stories, and there aren't two better storytellers in the NFL than Ryan and Arians. They'll be relaxed and in the moment. We'll all reap the benefits. I'd love to see the Dallas Cowboys take on the Indianapolis Colts -- and my reason goes beyond the obvious attraction of watching Tony Romo and Andrew Luck duke it out.

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. I would love to see the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills square off in Super Bowl 50. The Cowboys are considered "America's Team" and their fan base is starved for a Super Bowl appearance. Plus, I'd be curious to see how Jason Garrett and Tony Romo would handle the pressure of performing on football's biggest stage. Dallas has shifted to a run-first approach that's given the team a rugged, blue-collar identity; I wonder if the Cowboys would deviate from that philosophy with all of the chips on the table. For the Bills, I want to see how Rex Ryan puts it together in Buffalo. He is unquestionably one of the top defensive minds in football, but his inability to build a dynamic offense has been his biggest shortcoming. By making it to Super Bowl 50, he will have found a way to move the ball consistently despite lacking a proven franchise QB.

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. New England vs. Dallas: Two teams with highly passionate fan bases -- but also two teams that a large majority of fans absolutely hate. Tens of millions would tune in in hoping to see the Patriots lose, and tens of millions would tune in praying for the demise of the Cowboys.

Brady vs. Romo. Belichick vs. ... heck, does it matter? Two weeks of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Cowboys WR Dez Bryant in front of microphones?? The mind would be boggled.

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