Found January 20, 2013 on Beyond The Whistle:
The Quarterback. The most magnified, glorified, and crucified position in all of professional sports. Today's NFL conference championship match ups will be no different for Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan as they vie for spots in Super Bowl XLVII. At today's conclusion, the public's perception of each of these men will undoubtedly be skewed for better or for worse.The most pressure is on the arms of the first and second selected quarterbacks of the 2008 draft in Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco (picked third and 18th overall).Ryan finally got over the hump last Sunday. His Atlanta Falcons found themselves down 27-28 late in the game, against the Seattle Seahwaks. Ryan rallied his team to a comeback drive that led to an eventual game-winning field goal, ultimately winning 30-28. A loss would have gave Ryan an 0-4 records in the playoffs after averaging 11 regular season wins the last three years. Today will be his biggest test yet as he goes up against Jim Harbaugh's reinvented San Francisco 49ers. The underlying question is, is Ryan elite or just another quarterback that the big game eludes?Ryan's draft class mate in Flacco is in a similar situation although he's had mixed results in the playoffs with a record of 7-4. Flacco's dilemma is having to face a New England Patriots team that sent them home last year on the way to a Super Bowl appearance. Flacco is hoping the third time is the charm this AFC championship appearance, as he attempts to silence critics and prove he can catapult his name to the top tier of NFL quarterbacks. For whatever it's worth he is has the most active playoff wins without a Super Bowl appearance, a distinction I'm sure he would rather go without.     Tom Brady is at the point in his illustrious career where he is merely keeping toe with the great of greats. He is only chasing Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most Super Bowl victories with four. He already has the best playoff record of all-time standing at 17-6 (.739 win percentage) and is fifth all-time in regular seasons wins for a quarterback with 136. A win today would put him in sixth Super Bowl. Oh and in case you haven't noticed, the Giants failed to make this season's postseason party. Brady can most afford to lose today since it won't change the fact that he is already an all-time great.The most exciting story this playoffs has been the coming out party for Colin Kaepernick who dazzled fans across the country with his record breaking 181 yard rushing performance last week against the Green Bay Packers. A loss from Kap and the 49ers would not be too disappointing, because not many expected them to be at this point in the first place with a second year quarterback who was thrust to the forefront of an already successful team.For the 49ers to reach the same point as last season is an ode to Jim Harbaugh and his risky move of swapping Kaepernick for the seasoned veteran in Alex Smith. A win however, would put great expectations on Kaepernick and Harbuagh to perform well into the future. The last coach to pull such a move was Bill Belichick with Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe back in 2001 and we see how that turned out for the tandem. For Kaepernick, this game is a pace-setter for a blossoming career, only time can answer our many questions.Prior to today's games who do you think will be forgotten, kept in the discussion, or on the verge of being immortalized?

Brady continues meme of ‘Bradying’ during playoff loss

The AFC Championship game did not go the way that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots had hoped. Not all is upset with the Patriots loss as twitter exploded with a slue of tweets about #Bradying. It seems everyone thought that with about 8:27 seconds left in the 4th quarter it was the perfect time to take out the phone and snap a shot of Brady.

Ryan has sprained shoulder, out of Pro Bowl

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan sprained his left shoulder in the closing minutes of the NFC championship game and won't be able to play in Sunday's Pro Bowl. Coach Mike Smith says Ryan will need three to four weeks to recover from the injury, which was described as a sprained AC joint to the non-throwing shoulder. No surgery is required...

Matt Ryan Sustained Sprained AC Joint

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was diagnosed with a sprained AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder following Atlanta's loss to San Francisco in the NFC Championship game. SOURCE: Adam Schefter, ESPNFantasy Spin:We're sure Ryan would have been able to play through the injury in the Super Bowl in two weeks if Atlanta had won on Sunday. Ryan will be 100 percent long before OTAs.

NFL Rumors: When does Mike Smith become accountable for Atlanta Falcons playoff struggles?

Once again, the Atlanta Falcons have failed to advance to the Super Bowl after a very successful regular season. Atlanta did manage to record their first playoff win under head coach Mike Smith and QB Matt Ryan, but fell short of reaching the big game once again yesterday, losing to the San Francisco 49ers. When does head coach Mike Smith become accountable for this dismal 1-5 playoff...

In rematch, Ravens hold on to reach Super Bowl

Tom Brady's pass deflected high into the air off the hand of Baltimore lineman Pernell McPhee before floating gently downfield and into the arms of linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. And the rematch went to the Ravens. A year after the New England Patriots took advantage of a dropped touchdown and a missed Baltimore field goal to advance to their fifth Super Bowl in 11 seasons, the...

Tom Brady wants Wes Welker to come back next season

For the second straight offseason, wide receiver Wes Welker’s future with the New England Patriots is uncertain. Quarterback Tom Brady once again made it clear that he wants Welker to come back next season, while talking with Dennis & Callahan Show on Boston sports radio WEEI. “Everybody knows how I feel about Wes, our whole team feels that way about Wes,” Brady said,...

Murphy’s Law does the Patriots in

Ugh It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains. I was...

2012/13 Predictions: Conference Championships

San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta FalconsIn the 49ers win over the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Colin Kaepernick set an NFL record with 181 rushing yards (and two touchdowns) as the 49ers amassed over 500 yards of offense. Kaepernick was able to shake off an early pick-six by Sam Shields, and had perhaps had the best postseason debut by a quarterback in NFL history, adding 263 yards...

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he will be back next season

The New England Patriots lost in Sunday nights AFC title game against the Baltimore Ravens 28-13. Quarterback Tom Brady was 29-of-54 for 320 yards, had just one touchdown and threw two interceptions. For Brady, it was one of the worst games of the season. But the loss did not stop Coach Bill Belichick from making one thing clear during Monday’s press conference: That he will be...

Ravens Take Down Patriots: 5 Things We Learned

The Baltimore Ravens were seeking revenge for their 23-20 loss in last year's AFC Championship game.  They would get revenge by dominating the second half to defeat the Patriots, 28-13.  After trailing 13-7 at the half, it was all Ravens in the second half, shutting the Patriots out 21-0 to move on to the Super Bowl, or should I say the "HarBowl."  The Harbaugh brothers...

Oh so THAT’S what they were saying

Before diving into the two week buildup that is the Super Bowl (and which will be even more blown up than ever before because of the Harbaugh brothers coaching against each other) I’ll go ahead and share the video that the guys from “Bad Lip Reading” on YouTube posted last week. Ever wonder what the coach was saying after that game-changing call? Wonder why Tom Brady was high...

Patriots Super Bowl Hopes Come to an End with 28-13 Loss in AFC Championship

  I’m stunned, lost, disappointed, and very angry. I hope I’m speaking for more Patriots fans. What looked to be another return to the Super Bowl was cut short by the Baltimore Ravens, who were running on pure destiny. I was concerned from the very beginning from the game. It was literally a chess match between both teams on each other’s possessions. In the end, I’m...
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