Super Bowl Sunday is nearly upon us. Broncos vs Seahawks. Offense vs Defense. The Super Bowl is always one of the most watched events of the year, and with that comes a plethora of media coverage leading up to the big game. Nearly every storyline is dissected and analyzed. Here’s my take on a few of the stories that have garnered much of the attention.
One of the first Super Bowl stories started with the play that helped crown the NFC winner – the potential game-winning pass to Michael Crabtree batted away by Richard Sherman. (Side note: Has anyone mentioned that it was Malcolm Smith’s heads up effort to follow the entire play and actually make the interception that essentially ended the game? It was 1st and 10 at the time, so the 49ers would have had a few more chances to get into the endzone.) It was a phenomenal play, but it was the Richard Sherman interview following the game that really roused a lot of attention. Check it out here if you haven’t seen it. And check out this hilarious version even if you have seen the original.
The reaction to this interview was crazy. People immediately jumped on Sherman and called him a “thug” and much worse for the explosive interview. Others quickly came to his defense, pointing out the high emotion of the game, his rough up-bringing, Crabtree’s off the field comments, the fact that Sherman graduated with a high GPA from Stanford, that he is a master at his craft (arguably backing up the claim that he is the greatest at his position), and that he puts in a great deal of time and research. He’s also a pretty great writer, see here. (His claim in that article, that Manning throws “ducks” is, by the way, 100% accurate. As a huge Manning and Colts fan who has watched his entire career, I know that every game, Peyton will throw at least one or two balls that wobble — you just hope that those throws aren’t picked off. This has become the newest story — trying to stir up the “ducks” comment) After the interview, the media has been dying to get more out of Sherman, but he hasn’t given them that satisfaction. He has appeared at the required media events but hasn’t said much, and kept his time minimal (at one of the events, only staying around for about 6 minutes). I don’t blame him and see this as a smart move on his part – the media is only trying to get another reaction or quote from him and he isn’t going for it. Instead we’ll see what he does on the field against one of the all-time great quarterbacks — that should be the story that matters, the one that happens on the field.
The Venue and the Weather:
This year the game will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where both the Giants and Jets play. This is an outdoor stadium in the northeast. This matters, in large part, because the entire country has had an unusually rough winter. The Polar Vortex in the Midwest and Northeast along with large amounts of snow could make for an interesting Super Bowl weekend if the next batch comes in at the wrong time. Most experts agree that this kind of rough weather, be it strong winds or snow, would be an advantage favoring the Seahawks.
Sure, both teams would have to play in the same conditions, but the Broncos record breaking passing attack would almost surely be slowed, while the Seahawks’ ground game would likely be much less affected. As for now, the weather forecast doesn’t seem terrible (low 40s to start the game and dropping from there), but we won’t know until it happens. Additionally, some people are saying that NYC is too big for the Super Bowl. It’s such a large city with so much going on, that the Super Bowl isn’t even center stage; it’s eclipsed by the usual hustle and bustle of the Big Apple (even though the stadium is technically located in Jersey, it’s still the New York Super Bowl). With all of the critiques of the outdoor venue in such a terrible winter, if you are the type of person who loves the old school play through blizzard smash mouth football, then you better enjoy this Super Bowl, because I think that the NFL will stick with domes and/or warmer weather for the next several years. (If Peyton sticks around after this year for a few more seasons, I think he will appreciate that if he finds himself in future Super Bowls.)
It’s all about Peyton, let’s be honest. Manning is considered an all-time great quarterback on nearly everyone’s list, but his playoff record has been mediocre (11-11, also see here), especially given his high level of success during the regular season. He has been to two super bowls and has won one, so this wouldn’t be his first ring. But after this game he’ll be 2-1 or 1-2 in Super Bowls, a huge difference. So it’s an important second ring for Manning. It’s especially big because he’s never been in a position where he’s had access to such an impressive arsenal of weapons. Receivers, tight ends, a pretty good running game, and a pretty good defense to back him up; he never had it so good in Indy. If he doesn’t come out of this Super Bowl with a victory, all of the regular season records and accolades will be for naught; the entire year will be a failure. That seems drastic, but I don’t think it’s overstating the position that Manning and the Broncos are in, even though they are facing a talented and physical defense and secondary in the Seahawks. I’m a Manning fan, and I’m hoping he’ll play well, regardless of what the Seahawks (or the weather) throw at him.
Of course, it’s always fun to keep on eye on some of the betting that gets action. Here are just a few Super Bowl bets that you can put your money on (credit here):
Over/Under for Renee Fleming to sing the National Anthem: 2:23
Over/Under times Eli Manning is shown on TV: 1.5
Over/Under number of times Peyton Manning says “Omaha” during the game: 27.5
Over/Under passing yards for Peyton Manning: 289 yards
Over/Under rushing yards for Marshawn Lynch: 92 yards
The actual spread is Broncos: -2.5
For me, I want a good game, though I do have a horse Colt Bronco in the race. I’m a Colts fan, and a Manning fan. I harbor no bad feelings or bad blood towards him as a Bronco. He put the team on the map, and gave us a lot of great football and success over the years. Plus, if he wants to eclipse Tom Brady (which I desperately want for him), he needs to be 2-1 and not 1-2, as stated above. Go Peyton! Go Broncos! Broncos win: 27-17.