Seahawks vs. Broncos, or something very much like it, is something we should have seen coming in Super Bowl 48.
The Seahawks, a fresh face. A fresh face almost always represents the NFC.
The Broncos, a dynastic quarterback. One of three quarterbacks almost always represents the AFC.
First, the NFC. In the last 13 years, 11 franchises have won the title. Only the Giants (2007, 2011) and Seahawks (2005, 2013) have been Super Bowling twice.
The Giants’ victory two years ago in the NFC ended the streak at 10 — 10 franchises had won the 2001 through 2010 NFC titles. The 49ers’ triumph last season made it 11 for 12. Even Seattle’s repeat came eight years apart.
So the NFC clearly is an egalitarian conference. Most any franchise can win and most do, at some point. The only NFC franchises without a conference title in the 2000s are the Falcons (1998), Cowboys (last won the NFC in 1994), Redskins (1991), Vikings (1976) and Lions (1957).
Meanwhile, the AFC does not pass around its Lamar Hunt Trophy. Except among three quarterbacks.
Joe Flacco won the AFC with the Ravens a year ago, and the 2002 Oakland Raiders with Rich Gannon won the AFC. Otherwise, every AFC championship since 2001 has been won by Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger or Peyton Manning.
Brady won with the Patriots of 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2011.
Big Ben won with the Steelers of 2005, 2008 and 2010.
Manning won with the Colts of 2006 and 2009 and now with the Broncos of 2013.
That’s an amazing run of dominance by a few elite quarterbacks. That run will end sometime. Manning is 38, Brady is 36 and Roethlisberger is 31.
That kind of exclusivity doesn’t exist in the NFC, where the last 13 titles have been won by 11 quarterbacks. The only-two conference champion quarterbacks are Eli Manning (2007 and 2011 Giants) and Kurt Warner (2001 Rams, 2008 Cardinals).