Time to start deciding what would look best on the menu for Super Bowl.
No, no. Not the eternal dilemma between salsa and cheese dip for the taco chips. Which teams would look better.
There are four possible matchups, of course. This weekend’s conference championships will deliver one of them.
(We pause here for an NFL playoff quiz. The forecast Sunday is for snow showers and temperatures in the 20s in Pittsburgh, sunny and the 70s in Glendale, Ariz. Guess which game will be played inside? Take your time).
So what Super Bowl game sounds like it would go better with the Bruce Springsteen halftime show? Operators are standing by now to register your vote. Just dial up and choose.
•The All-Pennsylvania option: Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia. It’d be the most publicized confrontation the state has witnessed since Gettysburg. The teams don’t see one another that often, for sharing the same governor. Seven meetings in the past 29 years, though they played in September in Philadelphia and the Eagles won 15-6.
One obvious storyline would be their contrast in trophy cases. The Steelers have five Super Bowl titles. The Eagles have none. What would Ben Franklin say?
•The Generation Gap Option: Arizona vs. Baltimore. The quarterback age disparity would be the Super Bowl equivalent of text messaging against pay phones. You’d have Kurt Warner, 37, starting for the Cardinals, and rookie Joe Flacco, 24, starting for the Ravens – the third-youngest in the history of the game.
Warner played in his first Super Bowl in the 1999 season. Flacco was what, in middle school?
•The I-95 Option: Philadelphia vs. Baltimore. They’re barely 100 miles apart, two cold-weather teams that might appreciate spending a late week in January in Florida.
The operative date in previewing this duet would be Nov. 23. The Ravens crushed the Eagles 36-7 in Baltimore that day, forcing Andy Reid to bench Donovan McNabb. The shock waves and recovery from that turbulence have been a part of the Eagles’ saga since, though the participants wish it would go away.
“I’m not even getting into that, it was so long ago,” Reid said this week in his teleconference. … “That’s all history stuff.”
•The Cinderella Option: Arizona vs. Pittsburgh. The Cardinals would be viewed as surprise guests no matter whom they play. But to barge into their first Super Bowl and go up against one of the NFL bluebloods would only make their upstart status that much more conspicuous.
Is the main stage ready for a franchise that, before 2008, owned one winning season in 23 years?
“This is something big that really words can’t describe it,” Arizona defensive end Bertrand Berry said. “When you think about what’s happened here the last couple decades – which you (media) guys have pointed out – there hasn’t been a whole lot to cheer about.”
So who do you like, to fit in between the television beer commercials on Super Bowl Sunday?
The prediction here is Baltimore-Philadelphia. But the vote is for Arizona-Pittsburgh. The Steel Curtain descendants vs. the vagabonds from the desert. That’s certainly worth a Roman numeral.
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.