The NFL Playoffs are rushing towards this year’s Super Bowl, with the Conference Championship games taking place this Sunday. The NFC Conference Championship will see Buccaneers QB Tom Brady appear in his 9th conference championship game in the last 10 years, having now played in 14 conference championship games in his 21-year career. His opponent will be the #1 seed Green Bay Packers led by QB Aaron Rodgers, who many experts expect to win the MVP award this season. A snowy Sunday forecast for Lambeau Field should create an incredible atmosphere for this epic matchup of two great quarterbacks.
For the second season in a row, the AFC conference championship will feature the Kansas City Chiefs, who had another dominant season following their Super Bowl victory last year. They’ll take on Josh Allen and the rising Buffalo Bills in what will be the Bills’ first conference title game appearance since 1994.
Who will hoist the Lombardi trophy as victors of Super Bowl LV? We will have to wait a few more weeks to see, but it has already been a truly incredible NFL season.
The Season that Almost Wasn’t
As with most professional sports in 2020, the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic created uncertainty surrounding the NFL season. The NFL developed a plan to isolate coaches, players, and staff in hopes of preventing the spread of COVID. Although all of the preseason games were cancelled, the NFL kicked off a full 16 game regular season on September 10th.
The NFL was able to design the season with proper flexibility to move games to alternate dates and days of the week, or even switch teams that would play in the event of COVID spikes. After a 19-week season, and a total of 256 regular-season games on the schedule, the NFL managed to play all 256 games.
Several Teams Find New Homes
The 2020 season marked the Raiders’ debut in Las Vegas after spending the past 22 years in Oakland. The Raiders franchise is no stranger to moving and changing cities. After making their debut in 1960, the Raiders called Oakland home for 22 seasons before moving to Los Angeles in 1982. The team would then return to the Bay Area in 1995 and remain there until their move to Las Vegas this season, the third move in franchise history! The Raiders’ new home in Las Vegas is Allegiant Stadium, which opened this fall.
Two teams which moved to Los Angeles in recent history also settled into their new home this season. 2020 was the inaugural season for SoFi Stadium, the home for both the Chargers and Rams in Inglewood, CA. COVID restrictions in California prevented attendance at SoFi Stadium this season, so we will have to wait to see the 70,240 seat stadium filled with fans.
It’s All in a Name Change
After many years of debate, NFL owner Dan Snyder dropped the Redskins name and imagery from his franchise in July 2020. Although there was a plan to announce a new team name and mascot before the season began, the re-branding timeline was pushed into the future and the team will be renamed at a later date. For the 2020 season, they’d be known as the Washington Football Team. The first official Washington Football Team trading cards appeared in some of the 2020 football products, including Prizm.
Top Quarterbacks Change Teams
Another storyline which made the 2020 season special was that some of the NFL’s most well-known quarterbacks found new homes.
After 20 years with the New England Patriots, Tom Brady became a free agent and found a new home with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or “Tompa Bay” as their fans would soon say. Brady largely lived up to the hype and led the Bucs to the playoffs this year for the first time since 2007.
Tom Brady’s departure left a big question mark at QB for the Patriots: who would Belichick choose as Brady’s successor? The Patriots sent shockwaves through the football world by signing 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton, a former #1 overall draft pick and the longtime QB for the Carolina Panthers. The hobby’s reaction to the news reflected excitement and optimism for Cam to succeed with the Patriots, and his football cards were rapidly bought and sold in the hours following the news. Although Newton showed flashes of his former greatness, the Patriots ultimately finished at 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
After mutually agreeing to part ways with the Chargers franchise after 16 seasons, Philip Rivers found a new home with the Indianapolis Colts, leading them to the playoffs with a wildcard berth this season. This would be his final NFL season, as Rivers announced his retirement from pro football on January 20th.
Quarterbacks Rule the Game
Some of the game’s younger quarterback are quickly becoming faces of the NFL. One of those is Patrick Mahomes, who has already won an MVP award and a Super Bowl in his first four seasons. Putting up another brilliant season, Mahomes has the Kansas City Chiefs poised to make a run at back to back Super Bowl victories.
Several other young QBs are taking their place in the spotlight too. The Bills’ Josh Allen and the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson each led their teams to the playoffs, and 2019 #1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray showed signs of growth in his second year with the Cardinals.
The 2020 NFL Draft featured a trio of talented young quarterbacks in the top 10 picks. #1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow was Cincinnati’s starting quarterback from the beginning of the season, but unfortunately suffered a season ending injury in Week 11. #5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa showed his potential to be a future franchise quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. The early favorite of the 2020 rookie QB class, however, was the player taken one pick after Tua, the Chargers’ #6 overall pick Justin Herbert. He broke Carson Wentz’s 2016 NFL Rookie record for the most completions this season, and passed for a near-record of 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns in his rookie campaign.
Don’t Miss COMC’s Football Finale Auction Event
Football card collectors, don’t miss COMC’s eBay Homepage Auctions Event January 25th – 31st. Building up to this year’s Super Bowl, this “Football Finale” Auction Event will place a special focus on modern football cards and is the perfect opportunity to find high-end football cards to add to your collections and portfolios.
While the eBay homepage the promotion will be focused on football cards, COMC Auctions lists new 7-day, $0.99 auctions across all major sports every night from 5-9pm PST. Shop auctions ending soon here! And with a COMC account, you can transfer your auction wins from COMC’s eBay store directly into your COMC account to ship later or try to flip. Link your COMC and eBay accounts today at COMC.com/Manage/AuctionsWon to take advantage of this incredible feature of COMC!
Whether you have hot football cards of your own, rarities from Pokémon, or high-end trading cards from nearly any other category, COMC makes it easy to sell them! Please review our “COMC Supported Trading Cards” blog for more information about which cards can be consigned with COMC, and get started selling with us at COMC.com/sell!
About the Author:
Andy is the COMC Marketing Manager, bringing a wealth of marketing experience combined with a passion for trading cards. As an active hobby investor, he enjoys collecting and selling trading cards, especially football cards. Andy’s energy and enthusiasm are shared with the local community through his volunteer efforts at the theater and shouting from the stands at the University of Tennessee football games.