Championship sunday in the NFL.
Yesterday was the presentation of the NFC and AFC championship games. The winner of both games have now a shot at Super Bowl XLII on next February 3rd.
The AFC championship game was presented first as the San Diego Chargers were in Foxboro to play the undefeated New England Patriots. The Chargers were affected by many injuries to key players coming into the game.
Quarterback Philip Rivers, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and tight end Antonio Gates had to play thru pain. Tomlinson only lasted a couple of plays as he was forced to watch from the sidelines, unable to contribute for his team. Philip Rivers had to wear a knee brace and it really minimized his mobility. The Chargers tried all they could but only managed four field goals from kicker Nate Kaeding during the game.
The Patriots scored three touchdowns on their way to a victory. Tom Brady threw for 209 yards but was intercepted three times by the stingy Chargers defense.
Lawrence Maroney opened the score for the Patriots with a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Jabar Gaffney and Wes Welker scored during the second half to secure the 18th victory of the season for the Patriots.
Final score: New England Patriots 21 - San Diego Chargers 12.
New England head coach Bill Belichick will have a chance to tie the NFL record of four Super Bowl rings in two weeks.
The NFC championship was played on the frozen tundra of Lambeau field. the Green Bay Packers hosted the New-York Giants in a sub-zero matchup. The weather was very cold, in fact the second coldest ever at Lambeau but a great match was played despite the elements.
Both teams exchanged the lead during the course of the game. First the Giants took a 6-0 lead with two field goals from Lawrence Tynes. Then Brett Favre and the Packers responded with a 90-yard touchdown play to Donald Driver put the Pack in front for the first time by 7-6.
The Pack lead 10-6 at the half but the best was kept for the second half. Both teams exchanged scores until the game went tied at 20-20 late into the fourth quarter.
In a nailbiter ending for the Green Bay fans, Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes gave a few more grey hairs to his coach when he missed two field goal attempts, failing to clinch a berth into Super Bowl XLII during regulation.
An overtime period was needed and the Packers won the rights to get the ball first. But at his first passing attempt, Brett Favre committed a fault and threw a fatal interception. Lawrence Tynes converted a 47-yard field goal to clich the game for the New-York Giants.
Final score: New-York Giants 23 - Green Bay Packers 20 (overtime)
A heartbreaker for the great champion that Brett Favre is. He had given Packers fans a great run this season.
Super Bowl XLII will be played in Arizona on February 3rd. The New-York Giants will play the New England Patriots. The Pats will have the opportunity to complete the season with a flawless 19-0 record. Eli Manning and the Giants will clearly be considered as the underdogs in this one.
(Pictures: Junior Seau and Eli Manning, Getty images.)