Finally, pro football's Final Four is just the way it should be.
For the first time since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the four teams with the best records during the regular season are the last four left.No wild cards, no weirdness. No surprises, either.
"They've said all year that the road to the Super Bowl goes through Buffalo," Los Angeles Raiders coach Art Shell said after Sunday's 20-10 victory over Cincinnati. "We're just happy to be taking that path."
The Raiders will show up in Buffalo, snow or not, on Sunday for the AFC championship. Then the New York Giants will play in San Francisco for the NFC title.
These teams have already met. The Bills beat the Raiders 38-24 in Buffalo in October; the 49ers held off the Giants 7-3 at Candlestick Park in December.
San Francisco began its quest for an unprecendented third straight Super Bowl title by beating Washington 28-10 Saturday. That came hours after Buffalo won a snowball fight against Miami, 44-34.
The 49ers, Giants, Raiders and Bills were the four teams that got the byes in this season's playoffs. San Francisco did it with a 14-2 record, Buffalo and the Giants were 13-3 and the Raiders were 12-4.