To get to the Super Bowl is, many times, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to win means football immortality, that you've played against the best and been victorious and that you're walking away with one of the most coveted trophies in the sports universe, the Super Bowl ring and the Lombardi Trophy.
The teams we see on the field Sunday will both have paid a price most of us can't even imagine. The grueling physical regimen of training camp, the hours in the weight room, the constant running and lifting, the unrelenting competition of going up against other, highly motivated players in peak physical condition who would like nothing better than bumping you down the depth chart and take your place on the field.
It's a highly competitive, mercenary business where how great you were yesterday counts for nothing, it's what you're capable of today, where winning is all that matters and your fortunes can rise and fall on the performance you turned in last game.
Some of the players we will see in the Super Bowl have come back from injuries, surgeries requiring the kind of rehabilitation that only a driven man with a consuming desire to play the game could come back from, painful hours of repetitious exercise and physical therapy under the watchful eye of trainers whose sole motivation is to get you back on the field in shape to play your position better than anybody else on the roster.
The sixteen game regular season schedule has one focal point for every team that takes the field, getting to the Super Bowl; it's every NFL player, coach and owner's ultimate dream. It means there are no unimportant games, no game days when you can coast because any team in the league is capable of bearing any other team in the league on any given Sunday afternoon and if you want to make it to the Super Bowl you've got to play them all hard and serious.
So many great and even legendary players never got to compete in a Super Bowl, players who will have their busts enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH but were never quite able to pull off the ultimate feat.
Some Super Bowls are blowouts, some nail-biters, some coaching challenges of field position and strategy, some just straight ahead smash mouth free-for-alls where winning depends on who has final possession of the football, or a last minute mistake on the part of the opposing team.
This year's game could be viewed as a contest between the old guard and the upstarts as Colin Kaepernick and his turbocharged San Francisco 49ers offense go up against Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and the physical and savvy defense of the Baltimore Ravens. Both teams have had a couple of weeks to prepare and I'm thinking it's going to be a great game with emotions running high, the hitting hard and the battle in the trenches hard fought and relentless.
After the game is over, I'm sure the losing team will reflect on opportunities missed, mistakes made, broken plays, dropped passes and missed tackles, but not for long. They'll be too busy thinking about getting back to next year's Super Bowl.
Congratulations to the Ravens, the 49ers and their fans.
Looking forward to it.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America