By James Howey
As a football fanatic, you can’t ask for a more tantalizing and intriguing matchup than the one in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Denver Broncos are the number one offense and the Seattle Seahawks are the number one defense.
The Broncos scored a record-breaking 606 points throughout the regular season. Denver is the only team in the history of the National Football League to boast five different offensive players to score at least ten touchdowns. The Seahawks are the first defense since the 1985 Chicago Bears to be number one in yards, passing yards, scoring, and turnovers for a defense.
The majority of American audiences were introduced to the leader of the Seahawks’ defense, cornerback Richard Sherman, following Seattle’s victory in the NFC Championship game over the San Francisco 49ers. Sherman, who made the play to win the game for Seattle, was interviewed by Fox’s Erin Andrews. During the brief “interview” Sherman did not shy away from his emotions.
“Well I’m the best corner in the game,” Sherman said. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get.”
Since Sherman’s emotional rant, he has faced much criticism from the public. Words like thug, classless and cocky have been associated with Sherman.
While what Sherman did was very emotional and arguably inappropriate, the word thug could not be the farthest thing from what Sherman actually is. Not only is Sherman a Stanford educated man and with a Master’s Degree, he accomplished all this after growing up in crime and gang ridden Compton, California.
Sherman is an emotional guy who plays an emotional game and he made a crucial play against Michael Crabtree at the end of the NFC Championship. Sherman and Crabtree have both had “beef” with each other for some time. We should not be surprised Sherman reacted the way he did with a microphone and a camera in front his face mere minutes after he made the biggest play of the game in the biggest game of his life.
Many athletes have and will do much worse things than Sherman did after that game. Sherman’s massive chip on his shoulder not only makes a great player, it also makes him a perfect face for a team and a city like Seattle that feels overlooked by the general public.
Speaking of someone with a chip on their shoulder, no one has ever had a bigger chip than the man Seattle’s defense will face Sunday, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. In the 2013 season, Manning has thrown 55 touchdown passes and he has thrown for 5,477 yards, both being single season records.
Manning will play in his third Super Bowl with his second team and is likely to win a record fifth MVP award. Manning has accomplished all this after four neck surgeries in 2011 that nearly ended his legendary career. Many people, including his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, doubted Manning would ever be close to his old self.
Amazingly, Manning has never looked better than he did this year. But at times in rehab, Manning doubted that he could ever come back from his surgeries; he often struggled to grip and throw a football ten yards.
When you reflect on what Manning has been through the last couple of years, it’s hard to imagine how many, if any, NFL players in history would have been willing to come back from an injury like Manning’s. If Manning wins Sunday, he will be the first NFL quarterback to lead two different teams to a Super Bowl win, which in many people’s eyes will make him the greatest quarterback of all time.
The one drastic difference this Super Bowl has and will be remembered for is the fact that it will be the first Super Bowl played in East Rutherford, New Jersey, a cold-weather stadium. To me and many other people, this is just a ludicrous idea to put the Super Bowl in this type of venue.
Not only could the potential for wind or snow heavily affect the game, the weather could present even bigger problems for traveling that weekend before and after the game. Despite the potential problems, barring a devastating storm the week of the game, the Super Bowl festivities should still be great and the game may be one of the best ever.
This game is truly strength versus strength. The potential for bad weather would certainly look like an advantage to Seattle. Denver has an underrated running attack coupled with maybe the best passing attack in league history and a defense that has been playing great the past month. Manning right now just looks like a player who simply will not be denied. I’ll take Manning and Denver in a classic game; Denver 24, Seattle 20.
Contact James Howey, sports editor, at email@example.com.