This coming Sunday's Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning showdown in the AFC Championship Game may be the final time the two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks face off on the field. That, among other reasons, is why previews of that game will dominate football discussions over the next several days.
I'm not convinced that the NFC Championship Game doesn't present the more intriguing and, truth be told, the better QB match-up.
Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers have been here before; in each of the past three years to be specific. Kaepernick last January did what Alex Smith had been unable to do the previous NFC title game, and that's lead San Francisco to a Super Bowl berth. That story did not have a happy ending for the west coast side, as the 49ers were downed by the Baltimore Ravens on the final evening of the season.
This is new territory for Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. The second-year pro got a taste of the playoffs during his rookie campaign, but this is the first time that he is four quarters away from playing in a Super Bowl.
Like with Brady and Manning, the careers of Kaepernick and Wilson appear destined to be intertwined. Both were once overlooked in NFL Drafts. Kaepernick was taken by San Francisco in the second round of the 2011 draft, while Wilson fell to the third round back in 2012.
Neither were thought to be immediate starters at the pro level. Kaepernick was behind the previously mentioned Smith on the San Francisco depth chart, while Wilson was supposed to be an understudy for Matt Flynn. Both had other plans, however, and neither man has looked back since successful 2012 campaigns.
Kaepernick is physically the more prototypical starting quarterback. He is listed at 6-4 and 230 pounds, while Wilson stands at what is probably a generous 5'11 and 206 pounds. Neither man missed a start in 2013, so durability isn't yet an issue.
Wilson was more accurate a passer this past regular season than was Kaepernick. The Seattle man completed over 63 percent of his attempts, while Kaepernick connected on 58.4 percent of his throws. Wilson also had the edge in total passing yards (3,357 vs. 3,197) and passer rating (101.2 vs. 91.6) in 2013. Wilson also had five more throwing touchdowns (26) than did Kaepernick.
Both are able to make plays with their legs. While the perception is that Wilson escapes the pocket to then find an open receiver, he rushed for more yards this season (539) than did Kaepernick (524).
Kaepernick will enter this weekend's conference title game with the hotter hand. He has completed 31 of 58 pass attempts in two playoff games this month, including one that was played in below-freezing temperatures at Lambeau Field. Kaepernick went 15-28 for 196 and a passing touchdown last weekend when the Niners won on the road at the Carolina Panthers. He also rushed for a touchdown in that contest.
Wilson had a rough outing at home against the New Orleans Saints last Saturday. He completed 9 of 18 attempts for just 103 yards and zero touchdowns. That game, in all fairness to the Seattle QB, was played in monsoon conditions. Wilson did finish off the regular season having been intercepted in three of Seattle's final four games.
The hope for a team is that it will find the ideal quarterback for its particular offense. That, above anything else, is why it is difficult to pick which of the two QBs featured in this piece I would rather have on my roster. Nobody should believe that Sunday's NFL Championship Game will show which of the two is better.
It's a safe bet that they're going to meet up in the playoffs again down the road.