Sunday, February 2, 2014

Superbowl XLVIII Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos Pre-Game Thoughts

Representing the American Football Conference for the Seventh Time - The Denver Broncos.

The Broncos are an original AFL team, beginning play in 1960 at Mile High Stadium.  They were the only team in the entire AFL never to play in the AFL Title Game prior to the 1966 merger.  They have appeared in the Super Bowl six times previously, losing in 1978 (Dallas), 1987 (NYG), 1988 (Washington) and 1990 (San Francisco).  They FINALLY broke through winning back to back in 1997 (Green Bay) and 1998 (Atlanta).  They are led by the now FIVE time league MVP Peyton Manning who won a Super Bowl eight years ago when his Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears 29-17.  IF Manning leads the Broncos to a win he will become the first Quarterback EVER to lead two different teams to Super Bowl wins.  Kurt Warner COULD have become the first when he played for the Cardinals who lost to the Steelers in 2009.  With 7 appearances the Broncos are tied with the Patriots for 2nd place in all time big game appearances.  The Steelers and the Cowboys are tied for first with 8 each.  Their all-time playoff record is 20-17.

The Broncos are coached by John Fox, who had a heart-attack earlier this season and was forced to sit out several games.

Representing the National Football Conference for the Second Time - The Seattle Seahawks.  

In 1976 the NFL added their first two teams since the AFL/NFL merger in the mid-60's adding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the then AFC and the Seattle Seahawks to the NFC.  Strangely enough the 'Hawks swapped divisions with the Bucs after one season and became AFC West Stalwarts for over 25 years.  They switched back to their NFC origins for the 2002 season when the two conferences were finally balanced with 4 divisions of 4 teams each.

The Seahawks didn't have much playoff success in the AFC, appearing in only 5 post-seasons from 1983 to 1999, their best showing being their first; a 9-7 team lost to the eventual champion LA Raiders in the AFC Title game.  Their 2005 team was one of the top 10 teams of the entire 2000-2009 era, winning 13 out of 16 games and blowing through their two home games in the playoffs.  That team had the #1 ranked offense led by Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander with Bobby Ingram catching passes.  They were coached by Mike Holmgren who built the team as the GM as well.  IF the Seahawks win this year they'll finally be .500 in playoff appearances at 12-12.

The Seahawks are coached by Pete Caroll who I USUALLY call "Cheatey Petey" stemming from his years at my least favorite college in America, U$C (full disclosure - I graduated from UCLA in 2006).  Neither Caroll nor Jim Fox have a Super Bowl victory under their belts.  I really don't have much nice to say about Caroll, so I'd rather say nothing.

The Game

This year's game features one of the hottest offenses in the league led by a tested and tough field-general versus one of the best defenses ever created with several star players who are at the top of their game.  When the Broncos are on offense Manning can RARELY be stopped.  His audibles at the line of scrimmage are now legendary (OMAHA!) and he has a terrific pedigree.  The Seahawks though have three Pro-Bowlers in their backfield led by first team All-Pros Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.  Sherman has made a name for himself recently due to his post-game interview and comments after the NFC Title Game.  So when the Broncs are on offense the game to watch is Mannings passing versus the Seahawks secondary.

When Seattle has the ball they're led by second year man Russell Wilson, who wins 75% of the games he has started over the last two years.  Wilson was a two sport star in High School and at NC State where he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies and played in their minor-league system unremarkably.   He had completed his junior year of football eligibility prior to the 2011 Baseball season and his decision to play minor-league ball led to his being released from his scholarship.  Wilson then transferred to Wisconsin where he the Badgers to an 11-3 season and a Rose Bowl appearance.  Drafted by Seattle in the 3rd round, he started the 2012 season at QB leading Seattle to the post-season and a Wild-Card round victory.

Marshawn Lynch is the featured back in the Seattle offense and is known by his nickname "Beast-Mode"  Really that's all you need to know, the man is just unstoppable.  Third straight season of 1000+ yards and 5th overall.  Oh and he hates to talk to the media.

The line is still the Broncos by 2.5.  I think that's pretty darn accurate.  Per an article on Forbes

According to CBS, here are three of the hottest prop bets:
-How Many Times Will Peyton Manning Say “Omaha” During the Game?
-What Will the TV Rating be for the Super Bowl?
-What Will Be the Total Team Points? 

And then there's this to catch you up on Superbowl History.

T-Minus 1:45 to kickoff.  I think (3:30 PM PST)

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