Here is the opening to my Monday column about the 49ers-Atlanta Falcons matchup:

This was not the game we wanted. I’m being presumptuous speaking for you. I didn’t want the 49ers to play Atlanta in the NFC Conference championship game. I wanted Seattle. I’m assuming you did, too.

That story line would have been an instant classic — two monsters of the NFC West facing each other the third time. Kind of like Ali vs. Frazier, Seattle and San Francisco, maybe the two best teams in the NFC, duking it out in Candlestick, and we’d have Jim Harbaugh vs. Pete Carroll and their personal rivalry and animosity and what’s your deal.

But we didn’t get that game. Life has a way of lousing up great story lines. Life also has a way of presenting new story lines.

To read the full column, click here.