I love a good collaboration.
A VCR/DVD player combo? I buy it. Jay-Z and Linkin Park doing "Numb/Encore"? I listen. Stockton to Malone? I marvel.
But it doesn't match high-quality competition. Doesn't come anywhere close. Compare any good combo to the best competitions. You know what the combo is missing? That extra little intensity that requires extra greatness from all involved or else their fate is sealed. I'm talking Dominique vs. MJ in the Slam Dunk Competition, or Arnie Palmer vs. Jack Nicklaus, or Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras, or Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali. The greatest competitors in their field producing at peak capacity, trying to outdo their nemesis.
Last week, we had Kobe vs. LeBron and Ovechkin vs. Crosby. This week -- last night, as a matter of fact -- we had the two best teams in the NHL collide in San Jose, Sharks vs. Blackhawks.
It was all that was advertised and then some. Blackhawks took a 3-0 lead nine minutes into the game, Sharks chipped back with a goal in each period to force overtime, and the Hawks' Troy Brouwer won it 97 seconds in. 4-3, Chicago. Classic.
On Sunday, Andy Murray meets Roger Federer in the Australian Open final. I'm hoping for another classic.
Then, a week from Sunday, on Feburary 7... Super Bowl XLIV.
The Super Bowl, for whatever reason, has not been the best showcase of greatness in competition, at least not until the past two years. Up until the fine finishes of Giants/Pats and Cardinals/Steelers, I would point only to Staubach vs. Bradshaw (Super Bowl X and Super Bowl XIII) as showcases of greatness in competition.
And if the Saints/Colts showdown doesn't provide the excitement I hope, at least I'll have had the satisfaction of watching Ovechkin/Crosby Part II in Washington, DC, scheduled for noon earlier in the day. Awesomeness.