The Divisional Playoffs last weekend were so exciting that the major question for this Sunday’s play simply is: Can the Conference Championship games possibly match the drama and excitement of those four last-play victories?

The correct answer probably is: Who knows, but we would not bet against it!

The two upcoming games are rematches of contests played in the second half of the 2021 regular season. They are much anticipated for several reasons:

–Cincinnati at Kansas City in the AFC finale features two of the most exciting quarterbacks and offenses in the league.  Second-year QB Joe Burrow states the case for his Bengals this way: “I am tired of the underdog narrative. We’re really a good team and we’re here to make noise.” The Bengals defeated the Chiefs 34-31 in Cincinnati earlier this month.  Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs are playing in their fourth straight Conference Championship Game in their home stadium and looking to move on to their third consecutive Super Bowl.

–San Francisco at Los Angeles in the NFC will be the third time these two teams are playing each other this season but this time the winner moves on to Super Bowl LVI. The 49ers won both regular-season games and now lead the 72-year old rivalry 74-67-3. In the only previous Conference Championship Game match-up between the two NFC West teams, the 49ers won 30-3 in the 1989 season.

–Chiefs Coach Andy Reid is in his 23rd year as an NFL head coach (14 with the Eagles and 9 in KC) while Bengals 38-year old Coach Zac Taylor is in only his third year. The Rams 36-year old Coach Sean McVay and 49ers 42-year old Coach Kyle Shanahan are both finishing the fifth seasons with their teams.

–Although none of the head coaches this Sunday played in the league, a total of 33 assistant coaches on the four teams are NFL alumni: Cincinnati (9 alumni) at Kansas City (7) and San Francisco (8) at Los Angeles (9).

The AFC game in Kansas City kicks off at 3.00 PM ET followed by the NFC battle in the Rams’ new SoFi stadium at 6:40 PM ET. The latter game marks the first time a Conference Championship will be decided in the same venue as the Super Bowl two weeks later.

We at NFL Alumni will be watching all the excitement along with millions of sports fans both in this country and overseas.