by Greg Schaffer

There was 17 weeks of battles fought in the trenches of synthetic turf and moistened, mud soaked, natural, grass. Graven warriors in mud clad uniforms proudly displayed their athletic prowess for hometown fans. There’s been swearing, growling, bone crunching, and spitting. Broken bones, ruptured tendons and MRIs captured the Monday morning eyes of curious fans as they briskly search the columns of their local sports page.

The 32nd NFL Super Bowl season kicked off 22 weeks ago on August 31st. The Powers That Be of the football betting world had selected Green Bay and Denver to face-off this weekend in the highest rated sporting event. They have the Packers pulling off a close one at 32-29. How fitting that early last summer some guy looked into a crystal ball and nailed it. The nostalgia and stories that surrounds this game are incredible. I’m sure President Clinton will be sad to see Sunday pass. For then all media eyes will be focused on this latest White House scandal. And the players thought they got some dumb questions during Media Day!! The game will be played at what was once, (and in my mind will always be), Jack Murphy Stadium. Known to her fans as. “The Murph.”

This year those pesky Broncos finished the year with a 12-4 mark. They will be representing the lowly AFC Conference. The Broncos have been here 4 other times, 3 of those losses came with John Elway at the offensive helm. With his season and career winding down, I think Elway realizes this is his last shot at the coveted championship ring that has been so elusive to him. If he is defeated once again he will join Jim Kelly as the only quarterbacks to lead a team to four big games and leave each one without a championship ring.

Across the field will be the defending NFC and Super Bowl Champs, Green Bay Packers. The Packers have held the Super Bowl trophy which bears the name of the coach who last won back-to-back titles for them. The Lombardi trophy is a natural fit back at the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field where it’s namesake would stroll the sidelines barking plays to the field. Vince Lombardi displayed the full meaning of the game itself and the way it was intended to be played.

Two weeks ago at the conclusion of the Packers 23-10 sound defeat of the San Francisco 49ers, the Las Vegas power brokers gave the Pack a 14 point advantage over the Broncos. Why Not? The AFC have a lot of catching up to do. The last AFC Super Bowl victory came from Tampa Stadium in 1984 when the Raiders upset the defending champion Washington Redskins 38-9. The then Los Angeles Raiders were the only Wild Card Play-off team to win the big game. That’s a 13 year drought. Gee… will this number prove to be lucky for the Broncos? Does this season look like the year the AFC could be fruitful? Could the Broncos defeat the defending champs as a Wild Card team like their enemy Raiders did in 1984? The bookies still don’t buy it although the line has come down to 12 points.

As a Raider fan I despise the Broncos. Ever since they acquired our released coach, Mike Shanahan, they have pretty well owned us. There has always been bitter blood between Oakland and Denver fans. However due to the long lull for the AFC I would like to see the Broncos come away victorious. I do think they will make it a better game then the past few. In fact I’m willing to bet that it will be the 2nd best Super Bowl of the 90’s – Super Bowl XXV in 1991 will stay #1. It was the year that Buffalo missed a field goal on the final play of the game and lost 19-20 to the Bill Parcells’ New York Giants. That was a classic!

I personally see Denver staying in this game and keeping it close. If I were a beating man I would have to put money on the Broncos to not get beat by the spread and I would take the over on total score. I believe the game will come down to a key turnover. Whomever comes up with it will be the victor. I think both teams will play hard from start to finish and the Packers will come away with the title once again, 34-28.

Then again if I’m wrong and it turns into another blowout, then I can sit back and enjoy the commercials. I can’t wait to see Louie the Lizard choke the crap out of those annoying Budweiser frogs. It will be nice to see them finally CROAK! I’ll put my cash on the lizard!