By Ryan Decker
The Super Bowl is the largest annual sporting event in the world.
It is the most watch, the most anticipated, and most analyzed, as well.
It’s so big that corporations will pay millions of dollars for a 15-30 second ad to run during timeouts.
Although plenty of people do watch the Super Bowl for the commercials, the majority of people watch it for the game on the field.
Each Super Bowl has storylines galore that help build the hype.
Below are five potential Super Bowl matchups that would be oddly interesting for these reasons.
* Note: All matchups only include teams with winning records / teams that can actually make the playoffs
New England vs. Minnesota
A New England / Minnesota Super Bowl matchup would mark the seventh time in the last 21 seasons that the Patriots were in the SB.
It would also be very reminiscent of Super Bowl XLII (42) when the Patriots took on the New York Giants. Tom Brady – the crème of the crop when it comes to quarterbacks – taking on a non-elite QB carried by a great defense.
Could you imagine social media if Sam Bradford takes down Brady? Heck, imagine the National Football League’s reaction if Bradford and company take down Tommy Terrific.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders
Not only is this game interesting for long-time NFL fans, but it would also be extremely interesting for new-age NFL fans.
Right off the bat you’ve got two preseason candidates for Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year in Ezekiel Elliott and Karl Joseph. You’ve also got the story of the quarterback battle in Dallas.
If Tony Romo is the starting QB, can he finally end the Cowboys’ Super Bowl drought? Or, if Dak Prescott is still the starter, can a rookie really lead Dallas to a championship when Tony Romo and multiple others have tried.
Of course, that would also entail either Prescott or Romo getting past the NFC Championship game, which has been a problem all in its own for the ‘Boys over the last two decades.
Switching sides, you’ve got another team filled with young, upcoming talent in Oakland.
And what happens to the plans of moving to Las Vegas if the Raiders win a ring in Oakland?
Houston Texans vs. Anyone
First off, this Super Bowl would mean that Brock Osweiler will have lead two different teams to the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons, something that has never been done before.
Secondly, Super Bowl LI (51) is scheduled to be played at NRG Stadium in Houston, which is the home stadium of the Texans. It would mark the first time in Super Bowl history that a team would play the game in their home stadium.
Add in the off chance that the Texans could bring All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt off IR for the playoff, and you’ve got another story line.
Maybe an ideal matchup featuring Houston would be Houston vs. Atlanta, given the fact that both teams already play in domes, so neither team would have an advantage in that regard.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Washington Redskins
You could nickname this Super Bowl the “Battle of the 2012 NFL Draft.”
Indianapolis obviously has Andrew Luck, the first pick of the 2012 draft. Washington got to the playoffs that season with the help of the No. 2 overall pick in Robert Griffin III, and then reached the postseason last year with Kirk Cousins – a 2012 fourth-round pick – leading the way.
(Osweiler and Russell Wilson were also selected in the 2012 draft, so a Houston/Seattle SB would also fit this title.)
Getting back to Indy and the Redskins, though, this Super Bowl could help out (and hurt) both teams.
Let’s start with Washington. If Cousins reaches the Super Bowl, it would validate the team giving him the franchise tag this past offseason. However, it would also create another drawn out contract dispute this coming offseason, in which Dan Snyder could be forced to way overpay, a la Joe Flacco and the Ravens.
Indianapolis is already married to Luck for six more years. But the Colts need to start getting something out of the highest-paid player in NFL history. The jury is starting to comeback with a ruling that Luck isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.
He needs to change that for his and his franchise’s own good.
Plus, no matter the outcome, it adds to the novel of comparisons between Luck and his Colts predecessor, Peyton Manning.
Philadelphia Eagles OR Minnesota Vikings vs. Buffalo Bills
If we’re going to nickname Super Bowls, you can call this one the “Someone Has to win this One, Right?” Super Bowl.
All three of these teams have been around since the inception of the Super Bowl.
One team has to win this game, right?
Either of these matchups would end on of the longest Super Bowl droughts in the NFL. (Six franchises, including these three, have been around since the beginning of the Super Bowl Era and have yet to win one.)
And not that this needs to be said, but could you imagine Rex Ryan at the Super Bowl? Two weeks of NFL coverage divided right down the middle between the NFC representative and Rex Ryan.
Press conferences would get historic.