The Super Bowl is the culmination of the National Football League (NFL) season. Thirty two teams begin their quest in July, hoping that when February arrives, they are one of the two teams standing in the big game. This year, there will be a rare occurrence in the finale, as the number one seeds in both the NFC and AFC survived till the end.
The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will vie for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy on February 2 in New York’s Metlife Stadium. Not only are the two teams the best in their respective conferences, but they also hold another distinction. Seattle will come in with the NFL’s number one defense while the Broncos own the league’s number one offense.
On paper, it looks like a classic matchup. Will Peyton Manning and the high flying aerial act of Denver be able to crack the defensive code of the Seattle secondary, led by cornerback Richard Sherman? For true fans of the game, one could not have asked for a better matchup.
Aside from the battle of number ones, the game is sure to have a number of interesting subplots. Take, for instance, what the game could mean for Peyton Manning. Manning, who two years ago was cut by the Indianapolis Colts because of neck surgery, could be playing in his final game. There have been plenty of pundits that have wondered about this.
If Denver somehow captures victory, could there be a more fitting way for Manning to ride off into the sunset? He would be following a script similar to current Broncos team president John Elway. Elway won Denver’s last Super Bowl, then announced his retirement shortly after.
To make this dream a reality though, Manning will have to overcome Seattle’s ferocious secondary. Richard Sherman is the ringleader of the group, thought of by most experts as the best corner in the game. He sealed the Seahawks trip to New York with a late game deflection into a teammates hands to win the game.
Sherman celebrated the act by unleashing a best of the best rant in the face of FOX’s Erin Andrews. The outburst caused him to get unwanted notoriety, but did little to dissuade folks from thinking he is tops at his position. San Francisco only threw his way twice on the day, so one would think that Denver would be wise to stick with that strategy.
When Seattle is on offense, the challenge will be to see if Denver can stop Marshawn Lynch. The man known as “the beast” has been running over opposing defenses, averaging over 100 yards a game. Denver shutdown playoff sensation Legarette Blount in the AFC Championship, but Lynch could be far tougher.
Russell Wilson seemed to find his stride against the 49ers passing the ball. He has been quiet during most of the postseason, but he is definitely a guy who can run the ball, putting more pressure on the Denver defense. Running the ball could be key for Denver as well, because it has been the one thing the Seattle defense has had trouble stopping.
One big key will be the health of Denver running back Knoshown Moreno, who was hobbled in the New England game. Denver has a formidable offensive line, so if Moreno is healthy, his running could open things up for Manning’s passing attack. This game will go down to the wire, with Denver winning it with a late field goal.