The New Orleans Saints, one season removed from the upheaval of Hurricane Katrina, moved within one victory of the first Super Bowl berth in franchise history with a 27-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
They reached the National Conference championship game for the first time in their 40-year history, and will face either top-seeded Chicago or fourth-seeded Seattle on January 21 for a Super Bowl berth.
In American Conference action on Saturday, Adam Vinatieri kicked five field goals to give the Indianapolis Colts a 15-6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
The Colts, who have not reached the Super Bowl since leaving Baltimore for Indianapolis in 1984, will face the winner of Sunday's game between San Diego and New England.
The Colts' return to their former home city gave the contest a special flavour.
However those who truly believe in fairytales will be following the Saints triumph closely.
In a Superdome stadium that was once a symbol of the devastation wrought by Katrina, the team that has inspired its fans in the city continued their journey to the Superbowl.
Inspired by Deuce McAllister, dynamic rookie Reggie Bush and the steady play of quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints became the first team in NFL history to reach a conference title game after losing 13 games the previous season.
The victory was made all the more special after they trailled 21-13 in the third-quarter before turning things around.
Ravens kicked out
In Baltimore, it was all about Vinatieri, who furthered his reputation as a high pressure performer.
An integral part of three Super Bowl-winning teams with the New England Patriots, Vinatieri has kicked seven field goals in two playoff games with the Colts.
Vinatieri's final field goal, a 35-yarder with 23 seconds remaining, gave the Colts their final margin and subdued a stubborn Ravens squad that has won the hearts of Baltimore fans since arriving in 1996 from Cleveland.
"He's awesome," Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said. "He's done that his whole career."