With twenty four hours remaining until kickoff of championship weekend, the fans of the final four franchises, the Jets, Colts, Vikings, and Saints, are likely both nervous and excited today.
Each franchise has something different invested in winning a Super Bowl, and it's important to explore what a Super Bowl victory might mean for each franchise.
New York Jets
The Jets are opening a new stadium stadium next year and need to sell a lot of Personal Seat License's (PSL). Though this playoff run has helped sell plenty of new ones, plenty remain. A Super Bowl victory for the Jets would absolutely energize the New York market enough to not only sell every PSL available, but also create a waiting list like there was at the old Giants stadium.
A Super Bowl win for the Jets would also give the franchise some punching room in the debate between New York teams. Since the early 1980's the Jets have been the undeniable second-best-team-in-New-York, but a Super Bowl victory would put the Jets in the same sentence as the Giants. It wouldn't put the Jets above the Giants, who went to two Super Bowls in the 00's and won one in 2007, but it would even the debate out for now. Though it sounds childish, this competition is important for revenue, more specifically merchandise sales.
A win for the Jets would heal a lot of the franchises post-Namath wounds; drafting Ken O'Brien over Dan Marino, missing out on Brett Favre in 1991, missing out on Peyton Manning in 1997, Bill Belichick resigning at Jets head coach to coach the Patriots in 2000, Mo Lewis knocking Drew Bledsoe out in 2001, the Favre debacle of 2008, and all of Chad Pennington's injuries just to name a few. A win in Super Bowl XLIV would heal many, if not all, of those wounds.
The 2009 Jets would also be remembered as the first team to win a Super Bowl with a rookie; something that Marino, Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Vince Young, Matt Ryan, and Joe Flacco (other impressive rookie QB's) could not do. That alone would make a Super Bowl for the Jets this year even more significant.
Even before Peyton Manning came to town, the Colts were considered one of the greatest franchises in the history of the sport, it just took Manning to make them relevant in Indianapolis. A win in Super Bowl XLIV would give the Indianapolis Colts their second Super Bowl, and the Colts franchise its third. Counting the Unitas pre-Super Bowl wins, it will give the Colts their fifth undisputed football championship.
A Super Bowl victory this year for the Colts would mean countless things historically; the Colts would have gone undefeated in every game that Peyton Manning played four quarters, and they would likely change the way that teams went about handling the final weeks of the regular season for a long time. A win would also put the Colts in the elite company of teams with three or more Super Bowls, and would put the franchise back into the mix of the top five franchises in the sport.
A win would also do wonders for Peyton Manning's career. Manning is widely considered the best player in the league right now, but a second Super Bowl ring mixed with his four MVP awards, would likely put him in the debate for the best ever. It would also solidify Manning as the player of the decade, and put the Colts in the discussion for team of the decade (though they would have one less ring than the Patriots, they would have more overall wins and two more playoff appearances).
Though it's probable a Super Bowl win wouldn't give the decade to the Colts franchise, it's an absolute truth that the 2009 Colts would be considered the best single season team of the decade, and amidst the all-time elite.
The Minnesota Vikings are a championship-less franchise that has suffered more heartbreak than maybe any other franchise in the league. In the 1970's the Vikings lost four Super Bowls, and since then have failed to return, losing in the playoffs countless times since in the past 30 years. A Super Bowl win would do wonders for a Vikings fan base that has stayed loyal throughout the franchises existence.
Right now "wonders" may be what the Vikings need to stay in Minnesota. The team has what many consider to be "major" stadium woes, and no deal is in place to renovate the building or create a new one. In other words, the Vikings are in danger of moving to Los Angeles, but a Super Bowl victory this year may be able to prevent that. After all, when a team is winning no one talks about them moving.
A Super Bowl victory would also solidify the Vikings as a "major" franchise in the league. Historically the Vikings have always drawn well nationally, and adding a Super Bowl to the Vikings repertoire will add some validity to that stat.
A Super Bowl win for the 2009 Vikings would also be the bookend in Brett Favre's career that transforms him into the greatest of all time. Favre is already the most popular Football player to ever, winning his second Super Bowl with a franchise that has never won one would be an incredible achievement; especially since no QB has ever won a Super Bowl with two different franchises to begin with.
New Orleans Saints
Hurricane Katrina may seem like a long time ago, but to the people in New Orleans it's not. Not only would a Saints Super Bowl victory give the Saints their first championship, it would be the cities first major championship as well. For a city that has gone through what New Orleans has gone through this decade, a Super Bowl would mean a lot. There's not much else to say besides that.
Saints fans have been through a lot of bad times. In the past they have had some good players, sometimes even great players, but they were never able to get a team together. Finally, for the first time in franchise history, the Saints have a team that could contend. More than any of the four teams still alive, the Saints are carving out their franchises history right now; Because the history before 2006 was miserable.
For Drew Brees, a Super Bowl victory would add his name to the list of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and put him right in the debate with Manning, Brady, and Roethlisberger. For some other Saints it would mean different things; Jeremy Shockey will no longer be the guy who helped the 07 Giants by getting hurt. Reggie Bush, if he continues to perform, will be worth his hefty contract. Marques Colston will have what all the receivers who make it to the Pro Bowl each year over him don't have: a ring. Pretty much the entire Saints team has something to prove with a Super Bowl win.
But then again, so does every player left in the final four. When it's all said and done, a champion will be named based on what team deserves it the most.