What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We’ll learn the answer this Sunday when the #1 offense (Denver Broncos) meets the #1 defense (Seattle Seahawks) in Super Bowl XLVIII.
In what’s hyped to be a “battle royale,” the #1 offense and the #1 defense will pound it out to claim the title of 2014 Super Bowl Champions this coming Sunday, February 2. Adding to the hype, the game will be played for the first time ever in an outdoor stadium (MetLife) in a cold-weather city (E. Rutherford, New Jersey), and winter weather is expected. But will it snow and, if so, how might that affect the game?
As a die-hard Denver Broncos fan (I live and broadcast my show Amerika Now from Fort Collins, Colorado, ~60 miles north of Denver), I’m hoping snow and wintry weather won’t factor into the game. Why? According to Senior Writer for ESPN John Clayton, snowfall at the Super Bowl could give the Seahawks an edge. “On a neutral field, in a dome, Denver would have a better chance, but the weather conditions…are going to affect them,” says Clayton.
For some, Clayton’s comments may seem a bit odd, considering the Broncos play in Colorado in an open field and the Seahawks play in Washington State under the Kingdome. But Clayton points out that snow and/or colder temperatures can affect a player’s abilities to throw and catch the football, something the Broncos depend on with Peyton Manning and their offense. The colder it gets, the harder it will be to grip the ball, and Manning may have issues throwing the ball longer distances due to the colder weather. Clayton believes that situation “could result in a few interceptions and ultimately turn the game around.”
Clayton also points out that although Manning “stole the show at the AFC Championship game…on Sunday, January 19, in Denver, the air temperature in the city was approximately 60 degrees at kickoff, which is close to 30 degrees higher than the current forecasts for the Super Bowl’s temperature.” And when temperatures drop, Manning’s interception numbers rise.
“Look at all four playoff games that have been below 40 degrees, the interception numbers go up, the completion percentage goes down, and that will definitely be a problem,” says Clayton.
So wouldn’t Seahawks QB Russell Wilson have the same problems as Manning? “No,” says Clayton. “With big hands, Russell Wilson is able to grip the football no matter whether it’s wet, rainy or slick, and he can grab it, throw it and keep it down the field.”
Nevertheless, Denver’s offense, led by Manning, has played with stunning efficiency this year, scoring 71 offensive touchdowns on 202 possessions (35.1 percent), eight points higher than any other team. They were also the first in NFL history to score more than 600 points in a season, while also being the first team in NFL history to have five players score at least 10 touchdowns from scrimmage. Previously, no other NFL team had more than three players reach double figures. Denver’s “…red-zone efficiency of 76.1 percent (51-of-67) led the NFL. After allowing the fewest sacks in the league this season (20) and producing an NFL-high six games without giving up a quarterback takedown, the offensive line has only upped its proficiency in the postseason, going back-to-back games without allowing a sack.”
Equally as impressive is Seattle’s unique defense. Seattle holds the NFL’s No. 1 defense in scoring (14.4 points per game) and total yards allowed (273.6 yards per game), and their secondary has been “historically stingy against the pass.”
When Seattle and Denver met in week two of pre-season, the Seahawks dominated the Broncos both on offense and defense. On offense, the Seahawks moved the ball easily with a balanced attack. And even though the Seahawks held many of their starting defensive players on the sideline, they still dominated Manning and the Broncos, holding them to just 10 points.
But there may be one more factor, an “invisible factor” not talked about openly, “public sentiment.” Within 15 minutes of the betting number being posted in Las Vegas, Denver went from being an underdog to the favorite. Why? Manning is the public’s sentimental favorite, with his “legacy” on the line. And then there’s Denver’s mild-mannered cornerback, Champ Baily, destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame with 52 career interceptions, 12 Pro Bowls, eight All-Pro selections, and a place on the 2000’s “All-Decade Team.” He’s waited 15 seasons to play in a Super Bowl. Will he finally see his dream come true of wearing a Super Bowl ring or will it be his counterpart, Seahawks Richard Sherman, whose threat against San Francisco’s wide receiver Michael Crabtree ignited a media firestorm?
All of these factors should make for an interesting matchup. The Broncos will probably look to attack underneath the way they have all season while Seattle will look to control the perimeter of the field the way they have all season. But only one team can emerge victorious.
Obviously many here in Colorado are excited at the thought of bringing home another Super Bowl Championship. But there’s something more Coloradans are seeking from a Super Bowl win, something about which the rest of the nation isn’t aware. It’s about something really good happening in our state, which has been plagued for the past several years first by the most destructive wildfires ever followed last year by the worst flooding ever, which affected 17 counties and has left many still struggling in the aftermath. A win for the Broncos would be a great morale booster for Colorado.
In the end, though, whoever executes best on game day will come out the victor. Joining Amerika Now this Saturday, February 1, is one of the nation’s leading sports experts, Paul Banks, to talk about whether the game will live up to the hype and who he’s picking to win.
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