Man was the Texas A&M-LSU football game not exciting. $401.89 on average per ticket, and it was a blowout. You know what games were exciting? Pats games. Yeah, in less than a week, the Patriots have played in two of the best games of the year, and so for the first time - this is unprecedented, people - a team appears in the Top 5 twice. Deal with it.
#5. Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals
OK, so the final score reveals a pretty one-sided game... and it was, but that's not the point. Not for this game, anyway. This wasn't Penguins vs. Capitals, it was Crosby vs. Ovechkin, MVP vs. MVP. The final score was 4-0, Penguins. But every time these two play it has the potential to be a classic, and that's why fans buy tickets regardless of how good the two teams are. You buy a ticket to Manning vs. Brady, even if one of the two teams is 0-10 - you just do. Just like you bought a ticket to Sampras vs. Agassi, whether it the first round or the finals. This time, Crosby vs. Ovechkin was more hype than substance, but the potential makes this a Top 5 game any week of the year, and at just $112.73 per ticket, it's also the bang-for-your-buck pick of the week.
#4. New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers
Yeah, so since I write this every Monday, I didn't get to write about the Pats-Panthers matchup in last week's post. Now it's my turn. What'd I like in a game that featured no 300-yard passer and no 100-yard rushers? The controversy, of course. Going up 24-20 with 59 seconds left, all the Panthers had to do was keep Brady out of the end zone. If this had been Brady Quinn, they'd have been set. Alas, it was Tom Brady aka Tom Terrific aka three-time Super Bowl winner. Surprise, surprise, Brady had his team on the Panthers 18-yard line with three seconds left. One final try. Patriot throw, Panther bear-hugs Patriot, different Panther intercepts. Yeah, the bear-hug part wasn't legal.
#3. Orlando Magic at Miami Heat
Hate him or love him, LeBron James on a basketball court makes for some great television. Saturday night in Miami might not have added to his legend but it was nothing to sneeze at, with LeBron hitting a jumper with less than 20 seconds left to put the Heat up 101-99. The called play broke down, but LeBron didn't care. Call it the cherry on top of the 16-point, second-half comeback he fueled.
#2. San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
If you'd told me last Sunday that a team would put up 41 points on the Chiefs this season, I'd have guessed the Broncos. WRONG. Turns out Phillip Rivers and the mercurial San Diego Chargers hold the kryptonite to the Chiefs superhuman defense. Who'da thunk it. The Chargers entered the game on a three-game losing streak - not really how you want to enter Arrow Head stadium - but with 24 seconds left, Rivers found the unknown Seyi Ajirotutu (say that three times fast) for a 26 yard TD, the game winner. "Totally called that," said no one ever.
#1. Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Shocker - this was a great game. If I were a fortune teller, I'd convince people by predicting a fantastic Manning-Brady game every year. Right? When are they ever not great? I don't understand people that turned off the TV at halftime: yeah, it was 24-0, Broncos, but let me see, hasn't there been precedent for dramatic second-half comebacks between these two? The answer - duh - is yes. In the 2006 AFC Championship game, Brady went into the locker room up 21-6 at halftime and returned to the locker room at the end of the game having lost 38-34. Uh-huh, so I guess these two have some pretty ridiculous games. At this point, in 2013, we know this. Right? Right. So DON'T TURN OFF YOUR DAMN TV AT HALFTIME. Thank you. (Hint: the Pats came back.) The price tag for this instant classic? $372.21, almost a full 100 more than the next closest game. Totally worth it.