NFL has four best teams left

The Final Four.

It’s a term generally associated with college basketball’s March Madness tournament.

For now, it applies to the only four National Football League teams who can win Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (No traffic jam jokes, please).

We’ve become quite accustomed to stunning upsets in the NFL.

It seems like virtually every week a double-digit favorite gets knocked off by an underdog that is given little chance.

That hasn’t happened this playoff season.

Thus, we may actually have the four best teams in football playing in next week’s conference championship games.

There’s virtually no argument that the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers -who will meet for the NFC title -aren’t the two best teams in that conference.

The Seahawks compiled an NFC best 13-3 regular season mark and thus will be at home next Sunday, where they smashed the 49ers, 29-3, back on Sept. 15.

But before you go saying San Francisco has little chance, keep in mind the 49ers beat the Seahawks, 19-17, on Dec. 8 in San Francisco.

This is a classic matchup between two great coaches -Pete Carroll of the Seahawks and Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers -as well as two of the league’s young superstar quarterbacks -the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick.

It will take a championship caliber effort to knock off the Seawhawks in Seattle, where they have lost just once this season.

But the team most capable of accomplishing that feat is the 49ers, who are motivated to return to the Super Bowl and avenge last year’s loss in the world’s biggest one-day sporting event.

Classic also describes the AFC title game in Denver, pitting the hometown Broncos against the New England Patriots.

When the two teams met in Massachusetts on Nov. 24, the Patriots managed a 34-31 win.

This will be billed as a battle of the quarterbacks as New England features three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady while Denver is led by Peyton Manning, who recently set the NFL’s record for most passing yards in a season.

Both are veterans with a warrior mentality who will exhaust their bodies and their brains in order to advance their legacies.

Should the Patriots and Brady win, he would join former Pittsburgh Steelers great Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks in history to win four Super Bowl rings.

While we would love for one of our teams -the Steelers, Bengals or Browns -to still be competing, at least we should be treated to two great matchups that arguably pit the four best teams in the NFL as all four survivors won at least 12 games during the regular season.

Whoever wins the Super Bowl will have earned it.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com