BBAO: 'Every play felt like a fourth down'

We're Black and Blue All Over:

This MMQB.com piece from retired NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels is notable in a number of ways, among them his revelation that teammate Brett Favre said he "choked" at the end of the 2009 NFC Championship Game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. What stood out most to me, however, was the way Rosenfels conveyed the intensity and tension of that game.

"Every play felt like a fourth down," Rosenfels wrote, and having covered that game myself at the Superdome, I couldn't agree more. There was a tension I have rarely felt in a sporting game, largely because, as Rosenfels wrote, "Both teams' fans had been waiting decades for a Super Bowl berth; the Saints had never made it there in their then-43-year history, and the Vikings hadn't been to the big game in more than 30 years."

It might not have been the most perfectly played game we've ever seen, and it has since been overshadowed by the NFL's bounty case against the Saints. But rarely have I experienced a game where so many moments and plays simply took your breath away.

Continuing around the NFC North: