Broadcast television. All NFL playoff games will be aired on one of the major broadcast networks—ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC. The conference championship games will be played on January 5 and 12 at either 4:30 p.m. or 8:15 p.m., depending on which network has the right to broadcast them. The national title game will be held on January 20 at 6:30 p.m. (all times Eastern).
The Super Bowl champion will be determined by a single match-up between the two highest scoring regular season teams. The New England Patriots are the current champions, having defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime of the AFC Championship Game. This will be the sixth time that New England has won the title, most among any team. It was also the first time that Tom Brady had led his team to victory after coming off an ACL injury.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the most successful franchise with five championships, all earned over a span of eight seasons from 1975 to 1982. Joe Paterno is the only person who has managed both a football and baseball team into the Penn State League Championship Series. He did so from 1950 to 1952 for Penn State University. He also coached basketball from 1949 to 1951 and softball from 1993 to 1995.
NFL playoff games will be broadcast nationwide on NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN beginning with the wild-card round. The AFC championship game was aired exclusively by CBS, while the NFC championship game was carried by Fox. Super Bowl 55 will be broadcast on CBS.
The doubleheader system has been used in both the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL). A doubleheader consists of two games played back-to-back without a break. This occurs when there are more than two teams left in the postseason tournament and can happen as early as the first week of January if there are enough remaining games. Each team gets one home game and one away game during the course of the postseason. The winner of each game becomes eligible to play in the next round. If a match is tied after four quarters have been played, then the fifth quarter will not be played and the teams will advance to the next round based on their record.
The doubleheaders often feature two popular teams who are competing for a spot in the super bowl. For example, if the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers were to meet in the AFC championship game, it would be a doubleheader because the Patriots and Steelers are still battling it out for first place in their respective conferences. These games usually take place at an alternative site if necessary due to stadium conflicts with other remaining games of importance to either team.
The AFC playoff games were shown on NBC, while the NFC playoffs and Super Bowl XVIII were carried on CBS. Both clubs had had very comparable seasons entering the game. The Raiders were coming off a 10-6 record while the Eagles were 11-4-1.
Raiders quarterback Mark van Dorenstein was playing well after replacing injured starter Mike Moroski, while Eagles quarterback Don Strock was having an excellent season himself. Strock had replaced an injured Doug Williams during the season and led the team to a victory in their first playoff game against the Chicago Bears. He went on to have a very good year with 2,509 yards passing and 18 touchdowns against only 7 interceptions. Wide receiver Harold Jackson had another great season with 1,179 receiving yards to go along with 9 touchdowns. Al Davis got into some trouble before the start of the season when he tried to trade Jerry Rice but was not able to do so because there was no other team interested in trading for him. This fact by itself shows how important Rice was to his team. Without him, the Raiders would not have made it to the postseason.
In the final week of the regular season, the Eagles traveled to Oakland where they faced off against the Raiders in what would be one of the most famous games in NFL history.