Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/15/13
Ray Lewis returned from injury only to announce he was retiring at the end of the year.  That one announcement has triggered waves of emotion for both players and fans as they prepare to say goodbye to a guaraunteed Hall of Famer.We're now preparing for the third week in a row.Tony Gonzalez announced his retirement around the same time as the Super Bowl last year.He's had what could be the best year of his career, including his first-ever playoff victory.For me, the ideal story would be these two players (maybe even Ray Lewis trying to cover Tony Gonzalez) facing off for one last ring in the Super Bowl.  However, that doesn't mean there won't be any added drama this year.  Just consider some of these other possibilities:A brotherly battle between John Harbaugh and Jim Harbaugh (Ravens and 49ers).We all thought a match like this would happen this year, but between the Mannings.  Then came the usual late collapse by the Giants, and this time they just couldn't sneak into the playoffs.  These are two great coaches, and the concept of a Harbaugh Super Bowl was discussed as early as last year's Thanksgiving night game.Can Matt Ryan "validate" his career by winning the Super Bowl?If the Falcons win this weekend, this is what the talking heads will discuss.  The simple truth is that Matt Ryan has proven he has the talent and intelligence to win in this league.  There's no denying that a ring would help his standing with NFL fans and players, but he still has a long time to get one.Tom Brady and Bill Belichick establishing the Patriots as one of the great dynasties in NFL history.To be fair, they already have created a great dynasty.  Three Super Bowl wins in four years, plus two more trips since, proves that the Patriots are a force to be reckoned with. However, Brady won't be in the league for another decade, and he still needs one more to match the two greatest dynasties in the Super Bowl era- the Steelers of the 70's and the 49ers in the '80s.  We all know he wants more rings (as does Belichick), but can they get one?A matchup that either "passes the torch" from a Brady type QB to a Colin Kaepernick/RGIII/Cam Newton athletic running type, or proves that there's no better style than classic pocket passing.This seems to be the most likely answer.  The 49ers are likely to move the ball against the Falcons while their defense stalls Atlanta's offense (although that's what everyone expected Seattle to do).  The Patriots are, well, the Patriots- it's hard to imagine them losing to the Ravens in Foxborough twice in one year.It's also completely false, no matter how anyone will try to spin the game.  One year does not render an entire style of offense obsolete, especially after decades of success.Bottom line: No matter who wins this weekend, this will be a Super Bowl for the ages.The author would like to see the championship go to the Falcons, purely because Tony Gonzalez doesn't have a championship and deserves one.  Ray Lewis does too, but he's already got a ring- a second would just be gravy.The author would also like to note that 47 (this Super Bowl) is the Ultimate Random Number, and as such this bound to be the most important and/or entertaining Super Bowl in history.
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