Las Vegas had its turn. Now it’s off to the Big Easy.
Come Super Bowl LIX next February, it’ll be New Orleans, Bourbon Street and the French Quarter welcoming untold visitors wanting to watch the biggest sporting event in western civilization.
Considering we haven’t had a Super Bowl rematch since the 1993 season, when the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys linked up in consecutive years, it’s unlikely we will see both the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers once again.
So what’s the best potential matchup? What’s the game America would most be salivating over?
Let’s lay down a few ground rules here.
First, the Chiefs are exempt. Sorry, Chiefs fans. Kansas City has been to four of the previous five Super Bowls and while Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Andy Reid are a historic trio, most of America is yearning for new blood.
Additionally, we’re only talking about Super Bowl matchups that could reasonably happen. You’re not going to see a Big Apple tilt with the New York Giants and New York Jets.
Would that be fun? Sure. It would also be fun if Ed McMahon and Publishers Clearing House arrives at my door tomorrow with balloons and a million-dollar check. The latter has a better probability of happening.
With that in mind, the Bills squaring off with the Detroit Lions would be dynamite.
For starters, let’s review the obvious: Neither Buffalo nor Detroit has ever won a Super Bowl.
In the case of the Bills, they haven’t won a championship since going back-to-back in 1964 and ’65 as champions of the American Football League. Since then, they famously made four consecutive Super Bowl appearances from ’90–93 and lost them all.
Somehow, that’s an incredible amount of success compared to football in Motown over the past 60 years. Since winning the NFL championship in 1957, Detroit has made the playoffs just 13 times, winning a grand total of three games, with two coming in the 2023 season.
But beyond the yearning for a title in both cities, the game itself would be fascinating.
Of course, the rosters as we know them won’t be the same come next February. Gabe Davis, Jordan Poyer, Leonard Floyd, DaQuan Jones and Micah Hyde might be memories for the Bills at that juncture. In Detroit, the same is true of C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Josh Reynolds and others. Just as importantly, there will be signings and draft picks.
Yet barring the implausible, we’d see Jared Goff in his second Super Bowl while Josh Allen would have finally ascended to the pigskin mountaintop. We would have David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs rushing into a front including Matt Milano, Ed Oliver and Terrel Bernard. We would get Aidan Hutchinson and Alim McNeill against an excellent Buffalo front.
We’d also encounter the questions of how Detroit’s pass defense could deal with Stefon Diggs, and which Bills’ corner is going to take the assignment of Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Then there’s the coaches.
Sean McDermott has been under siege from some corners of Bills Mafia, first for employing Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator and then for once again failing to beat the Chiefs in the playoffs, losing to them for the third time in four years.
For McDermott, reaching Super Sunday would provide the ultimate moment to both prove his worth and shed the label of a good coach with a ceiling.
As for Campbell, he would be attempting to shatter the memory of this season’s NFC championship game. Right or wrong, Campbell will always be second-guessed by some for his fourth-down aggressiveness, along with the perplexing decision to run on third-and-goal in the final two minutes when down 10 points, costing Detroit an essential timeout.
If Campbell led the Lions to a Super Bowl win, he would immediately become a legendary figure in Detroit.
While there are myriad juicy Super Bowl matchups to dream about for next season, the idea of the Bills and Lions squaring off provides too much compelling drama to pass up.