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Which team will win this year's Lombardi Trophy?

Which team will win this year's Lombardi Trophy?

Photo courtesy of www.theruddyreport.com

Photo courtesy of www.theruddyreport.com

Which team will win this year's Lombardi Trophy?

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It all started last year when the Denver Broncos faced off against the Carolina Panthers. The first play of the game was the craziest play. The NFL MVP, Carolina’s quarterback Cam Newton, snapped the ball, and the Broncos’ star outside linebacker Von Miller broke through the offensive line with a quarterback sack in his sights. In his own endzone, Newton was hit! The ball popped out of his hands and defensive tackle Malik Jackson ran up behind, dove for the ball, and recovered it for the first touchdown of Super Bowl 50. Denver went on to win the game to cap an incredibly entertaining 2016 NFL playoffs.

With those memories fresh in football fans’ minds, the 2016 regular season is over and the playoffs are here. This 2016 season was full of exciting stories. The Dallas Cowboys tied their franchise high in wins (13), all without star quarterback Tony Romo (thanks in part to QB rookie phenom Dak Prescott). The Oakland Raiders defied the odds and made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, and the hapless Cleveland Browns almost pulled off the impossible and only avoided losing every game with a late season win. Hopes are high for an even more entertaining 2017 playoffs.

The action begins with the wild card round. The wild card teams are the Houston Texans, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, and the Oakland Raiders. Winners of these games move on to play the 4 teams with the best season records who get a first-week bye. This means they get a free pass to the divisional round in the playoffs. These divisional winners are the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, and the Kansas City Chiefs. The fate of the Oakland Raiders is getting lots of attention. Predicting an upset, seventh Grader James Hoffman observed, “I personally think the Oakland Raiders are going to win it all even though their star QB Derek Carr is out for the rest of the playoffs.”

Even though Derek Carr had a season-ending injury (broken fibula), the Raiders still might have a chance to win it all with star wide receiver Amari Cooper and fantastic linebacker Khalil Mack. However, the #1-seeded New England Patriots are considered the favorites in the AFC as they are led by future Hall-of-Fame QB Tom Brady and wide receiver Julian Edelman.

In terms of the NFC, there’s no shortage of Falcons fans at Benjamin because of this year’s MVP front runner and All-Pro QB Matt Ryan. Teamed with star receiver Julio Jones, the Falcons are a force to be reckoned with in this year’s postseason. After the divisional rounds, the conference championships will be played and the winner of those two games will represent their conferences in the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl is the biggest football game not only in America, but also worldwide. About 112 million Americans tuned in to see the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 last year, and millions more tuned in from countries all over the world.

It all started 50 years ago in 1967 when the Green Bay Packers of the NFL faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL (American Football League). It was at the L.A Memorial Coliseum, one of the biggest stadiums in the U.S. which can hold 100,000 people. The Packers won 35-10, and according to USA Today, TV commercials back then cost companies $40,000 for an ad during that big game. Nowadays, advertisers have to pay between $4 and $5 million for a spot in the Super Bowl! In addition, the game is a cultural event, with families and friends gathering for food and fun prior to and during the Super Bowl. “Every year when the Super Bowl occurs, I have a very fun party at my house, usually with my family and friends in front of the TV,” said sixth grader Brandon Baklayan.

Students at Benjamin who don’t partake in this annual event where real U.S. history is made should surely try to take the time out to join their friends and family and watch the playoff games. The NFL playoffs promise excitement, suspense, and surprise. It is a chance to watch some of the best athletes compete head to head for the biggest prize in sports. Oh, and it’s a whole lot of fun.

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NFL Playoffs Preview