If this years AFC Championship is the last primetime showdown between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning it will be one to remember, both in terms of NFL history and ticket prices. The average listing price on the secondary market for Broncos tickets for the AFC Championship game is $779, which makes it the most expensive AFC Championship over the last four years…by a lot. The next closest price for AFC Championship tickets was for the 2011 game in which the Steelers hosted the Jets. At an average price of $532, that game was 31% less than this year’s game. Below is a list of the last four AFC Championship games and ticket prices for each.
|Year||Teams||Venue name||Avg Ask Price|
|2011||Steelers vs. Jets||Heinz Field||$532.94|
|2012||Patriots vs. Ravens||Gillette Stadium||$514.29|
|2013||Patriots vs. Ravens||Gillette Stadium||$530.78|
|2014||Broncos vs. Patriots||Sports Authority||$779.65|
Other than the Manning-Brady intrigue, it’s also been 15 years since the Broncos last played for a chance to buy SuperBowl tickets. That means that there’s a lot of pent-up demand in Denver, and likely a bit of envy. During that stretch, Broncos fans have seen the Patriots reach the AFC championship game an astounding seven times and host the game four times. For Broncos and Manning fans, there would be no more satisfying way to reach SuperBowl XLVIII than by going through Tom Brady and the Patriots.
This will be the third time that Brady and Manning have met in the postseason. While Brady took the first two games, Manning won the last meeting in the 2006 AFC Championship. More recently, Manning and Brady met in week 12 of this season. At an average price of $413, that was the most expensive Patriots home game all season. It was also the second consecutive year that Manning and the Broncos visited Foxborough. Last years game was Manning’s first visit as a Bronco and that game had an even heftier average price of $471. The Patriots won both of those games, and this year’s game was particularly thrilling as they came back from a 24-point halftime deficit. It’s unlikely that either team will build that kind of lead in the game next weekend, and it’s hard to imagine that the game wont come down to the final two minutes.
Unlike the NFC championship, in which the away team has won three out of the last four years, the AFC championship game seems to have real home field advantage. Over the last four years, the host for the AFC Championship game has reached the Superbowl three times. The only exception to that was last year’s Patriots team that lost to the Ravens. At a combined age of 73, Brady and Manning are 22 years older than the combined age of Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, the two quarterbacks facing off in the NFC Championship game. While it’s a good bet that Kaepernick and Wilson will face off in a few more conference championships before they hang up their cleats, this could the last time for Manning and Brady. Of course, there’s a lot of other things that you could spend $700 on that have nothing to do with football, but for anyone who’s a fan of the Broncos, Patriots or even the sport, this isn’t one to miss. It will surely be fodder for a lot of watercooler discussion on Monday, and if you’re lucky enough to see it live, it may even be something to tell your grandkids about.
Original story at Forbes.com