Oh, the possibilities.
After 19 weeks of games, the NFL has narrowed its field to four teams — Seattle, Green Bay, New England and Indianapolis — with four possible Super Bowl permutations.
This weekend’s conference title games are rematches, with the Packers looking to make a better showing at Seattle than they did in a 36-16 loss in the Kickoff Opener, and the Colts hoping for a pulse, something they didn’t have in a 42-20 loss to the Patriots at home in Week 11.
A look at the possible matchups for Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.:
This is the most likely scenario, and it pits Seattle’s Pete Carroll, onetime coach of the Patriots, and Bill Belichick, who replaced him in New England. Both are tremendously successful and reside at the opposite ends of the enthusiasm spectrum.
The Seahawks are looking to become the first franchise to repeat as Super Bowl champions since New England pulled off that feat in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
Colorful Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman would be a media magnet, just as he was a year ago for the Super Bowl against Denver, but the crowd at his podium would be even bigger this time.
Two years ago, after Seattle beat the visiting Patriots, 24-23, Sherman, who had a key interception, got in Tom Brady’s face after the game. Later, Sherman tweeted a photo of the encounter with the caption, “U MAD BRO?” which almost instantly became a recognizable catchphrase.
This matchup also would have the Patriots returning to the field in Arizona where they lost their chance for a perfect season. They finished the 2007 season 18-1 after a 17-14 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
The Colts’ Andrew Luck is the only quarterback among the remaining four without a Super Bowl ring. According to STATS, the only other time three of the final four quarterbacks had won Super Bowls was during the 1983 season, when the field was Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins, Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers and Jim Plunkett of the Los Angeles Raiders, all of whom had won Super Bowls, and the ringless Seattle tandem of Dave Krieg and Jim Zorn.
In the spotlight would be two star quarterbacks from the Class of 2012: Luck, the No. 1 overall pick, and Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who slipped into the third round and was taken 75th overall.
Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck would be a go-to interview, too. He led the Seahawks to the Super Bowl in the 2005 season.
Then there’s this obscure tidbit: Jim Mora coached the Colts, and his son, Jim, now UCLA’s coach, was coach of the Seahawks before Carroll.
Green Bay-New England
The Cheeseheads versus the Chowderheads. This is a rematch of the NFL’s marquee game 18 years ago, when Brett Favre led the Packers to a 35-21 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.
These teams played in Week 13, with the Packers posting a 26-21 victory at Lambeau Field, a game in which the Patriots dug their way out of a 13-0 first-quarter deficit and made it a captivating fight down the stretch.
Packers-Patriots would showcase two premier most-valuable-player candidates in Aaron Rodgers and Brady. Both of those quarterbacks know the feeling of dropping in the draft. Football fans remember Rodgers waiting in the green room at Radio City Music Hall in 2005, when he was the possible No. 1 selection but tumbled all the way to 24. Almost no one noticed Brady in 2000, when he was the seventh quarterback taken, the 199th pick in the seventh round.
Not a lot of player or coaching crossover between these teams, but the matchup does feature two quarterbacks who replaced legends, with Rodgers stepping in for Favre and Luck succeeding Peyton Manning.
Again, Hasselbeck would be a popular interview, as he was a backup for both teams.
The last time these teams played was Week 5 in 2012 — the Colts’ first game without cancer-stricken Coach Chuck Pagano, who would miss most of the season — and rookie Luck led his team to a 30-27, come-from-behind victory at home. Indianapolis overcame a 21-3 halftime deficit in that one.
And there’s this: The Packers trace their history to the Acme Packing Company. The Colts trace their roots to the pack-me Mayflower moving vans.