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PIGSKIN PERFECTION: The glorious ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview of Conference Championship Weekend

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NFL fans and TV networks couldn't have asked for a more appealing slate of Conference Championship clashes than Bucs-Packers and Bills-Chiefs -- headlined by the QB quartet of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes.

Five years ago, we began honoring radio legend Steve Czaban — who was surprisingly booted from the SB Nation Radio morning lineup in 2016, despite having perhaps the most engaging program in the radio marketplace — with a “You Are Looking Live!” preview of each NFL weekend.

The bit was so well-received, so roundly praised by media pundits (including a few SB Nation writers) and Czabe’s legion of fans alike, that we decided to make You Are Looking Live! a permanent Friday staple of the BATSBY Sports Network programming.

So, without further ado, here’s a print doppelganger to the best 60 minutes in sports radio — Hour #3 of Czabe’s NFL-heavy Friday show (heard daily from 7-10 a.m. EST in Milwaukee).

As such, it makes perfect sense to include Brent Musburger and Joey Porter into the presentation, via YouTube:

SUNDAY

#5 TAMPA BAY @ #1 GREEN BAY (NFC)

TIME: 3:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Packers (-3 1/2) … Over/Under: 52
REFEREE: Clete Blakeman

WEATHER FORECAST: Mostly cloudy, chance of snow, 27 degrees
TV CREW: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Tom Rinaldi (FOX)

FUN FACT #1: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (4,299 yards passing, 51 total TDs, 5 INTs) has posted multiple touchdowns in eight consecutive playoff games (22 scores overall), coinciding with the Packers’ 5-3 record during that postseason stretch.

FUN FACT #2: The legend of Tom Brady includes six Lombardi trophies, three NFL MVP honors, three Super Bowl MVP awards and perhaps the greatest passing numbers in league history, when it’s all said and done.

But did you know this?

Sunday will mark Brady’s 14th conference championship outing, with the future first-ballot Hall of Famer boasting a 9-4 record on Conference Championship Sunday; and of his last four title games — all being played amid frigid outdoor temperatures — Brady owns elite-level averages of 316 yards passing and 2.3 touchdowns.

BETTOR’S HUNCH: It’s a tad surprising to see the over/under tally for the NFC title game (52 points) slightly lower than the AFC clash (54), according to OddsShark.

After all, the Brady-led Buccaneers have notched 30 or more points in five straight outings (including the playoffs); and Packers playmakers Davante Adams and Aaron Jones have cumulatively amassed 12 touchdowns since NFL Week 13.

Perhaps the middling over/under has something to do with the likelihood of snow in Green Bay, Antonio Brown’s announced absence (knee injury) or maybe it’s related to the following nuggets:

a) Charting the last eight NFC title games (2012-19), the combined cumulative averages shake out to 52.8 points.

b) Brady and Rodgers have met on the same field — as their teams’ starting quarterbacks — just three times in history (2014, 2018, 2020). For those three encounters, the combined totals were merely 47, 48 and 48 points (47.7 average).

B-I-G WEEKEND PREP WORK

PIGSKIN PERFECTION: ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview of Big Sunday
SUNDAY COUNTDOWN: Most iconic games of Championship Weekend
GOOD BEATS: 12 sweet betting picks for college hoops, NFL weekend

#2 BUFFALO @ #1 KANSAS CITY (AFC)

TIME: 6:40 p.m. EST
LINE: Chiefs (-3) … Over/Under: 54
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich

WEATHER FORECAST: Overcast skies, 35 degrees
TV: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Evan Washburn (CBS)

THE MILLION-DOLLAR QUESTION: Will Patrick Mahomes (concussion protocol) suit up for the Chiefs, who are vying to become the NFL’s first back-to-back champion since the 2003-04 Patriots?

UPDATE: Just seconds after hitting ‘PUBLISH‘ on today’s piece, the Chiefs announced that Mahomes (24 total touchdowns in his last nine games) has officially cleared the NFL’s Concussion Protocol program.

And that’s a good thing … since we don’t have a flood of Chad Henne-related nuggets to celebrate.

BETTOR’S HUNCHES: Here are three strong reasons to take the UNDER for Sunday’s encounter in Kansas City … with none of ’em lamenting Chad Henne as a fixture in the Chiefs’ offense:

a) The last six AFC title games (2014-19) have yielded combined scoring averages of 52.3 points.

b) The red-hot Chiefs have won 11 straight games, cementing their standing as the likely favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champions. However, citing Kansas City’s last eight victories, each win involved a razor-thin spread of six or fewer points.

c) Buffalo’s defense has been terrific in December/January, allowing a super-low average of 16 points in their last six games (all victories).

Along those lines, Kansas City has held the opposition to 17 or fewer points three times in its last six outings.

A FAIL-SAFE SUPER SUNDAY: With Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen and Mahomes taking center stage on Sunday, the TV ratings for both clashes could approach record-highs.

By proxy, we’re essentially promised a great Super Bowl matchup, storyline- and hype-wise, regardless of the results of the championship bouts:

PACKERS VS. CHIEFS: A clash of the NFL’s two best teams, and the likely 1-2 candidates in the NFL MVP voting race (Rodgers then Mahomes or vice versa).

Oh, and for the history majors out there, it would also be a wonderful repeat of the very first Super Bowl.

PACKERS VS. BILLS: Only the NFL could have two of the league’s smallest media markets (Green Bay, Buffalo) meet on Super Sunday … and still generate a TV audience that exceeds 100 million viewers.

BUCCANEERS VS. CHIEFS: NFL fans have quickly grown accustomed to Brady and Mahomes meeting in titanic matchups.

Even better, within this scenario (and the one below), the Bucs would become the first-ever franchise to host the Super Bowl in its own home stadium. Incredibly, this has never happened in the previous 54 Super Bowl campaigns.

(The 1979 Rams played in the Pasadena Super Bowl; and the 1984 Niners partook in the Palo Alto Super Sunday.)

BUCS VS. BILLS: Brady vs. Allen immediately stands out, when hyping this clash of Old Heads and Young Studs.

Howevere, here’s another way of looking at things: The Bucs have never lost a Super Bowl (1-0 overall) … and the Bills (four straight defeats from 1990-93) have never raised the Lombardi Trophy in celebration.

About The Managing Editor

Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media’s national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out NBA.com, MLB.com, PGATour.com, The Players’ Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s pre-eminent award for Best Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and the NBC/Universal family. With Sports Illustrated (2006-11), Clemons served a triple role with SI.com‘s heralded football coverage—editing Peter King’s famed ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column, penning award-winning pieces for NFL and then writing/narrating scripted videos within the NFL and baseball realms. In 2013, Clemons’ first year with the company, FOX Sports South enjoyed a monumental increase of approximately 34 million Web hits in a 12-month cycle—merely posting 11 million hits the previous year. 

Then, over a two-month span in 2014, FOX Sports South amassed 19.5 million Web hits—a 60-day record for any FOX affiliate. And in 2015, Clemons claimed the aforementioned Cynopsis Media award on FOX Sports’ behalf, the company’s only national writing award during that period. Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University  and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta.

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