Cheat Sheet: Volume #19

Super Bowl is here, folks! Brush up on some fun facts and check out our prediction so you can be the smartest cookie at your Super Bowl party!

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Cold Weather Virgin: This is the first time the Super Bowl has been played outdoors in a cold weather city, and because this season’s winter storms have been so treacherous — you know, the polar vortex, Leon, Snowpocalypse – there was concern that a weather system heading for the New York metropolitan area would have made conditions unsafe for a Sunday Super Bowl. For, like, 2 tenths of a millisecond, there were plans to move the Super Bowl to Saturday, February 1st or push it back to Monday, February 3rd. Lesson here? Keep the Super Bowls in warm weather cities or in domes. K, thanks.

Kiddie Kollege: Kalee Buetow is the 3-year-old Seattle super fan whose Seahawks knowledge will put to shame any knowledge you thought you had about your favorite team. She’s memorized every Seahawks player and their position, and she knows the coaches, too. She’s THREE, people. Trust me, you don’t want it with this kid. Hashtag cutest thing ever.

All in the Family: Peyton Manning is considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but his little brother Eli, who’s frankly, not nearly as amazing, has 2 Super Bowl rings as a starting QB versus Peyton’s one. When Eli and the Giants defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, they did it on what was then Peyton’s home turf at Lucas Oil stadium in Indianapolis. Sunday’s game is on Eli’s home turf.
Not a Thug: Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman became a media sensation after showing his excitement(understatement) during an interview with Erin Andrews after his team clinched a spot in the Big Game. In the fallout, Sherman was called everything from a thug to a poor sport. Ironically, Sherman graduated from Stanford and has no criminal record whatsoever. A thug, by definition, is “a cruel or vicious ruffian…” And just in case you missed this week in politics, click here for a more accurate example of a thug.

And now for the main event!

SUPER BOWL XLVIII

This is the game every football fan has looked forward to all season long. This is the game that, once the clock reads “00:00″ and a new world champ is eating confetti, everyone immediately starts longing for next year. This is the game that makes you believe in next year. This.is.it.

Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks go head-to-head in the biggest game of the year. Be there, or be square. Or at least be in front of a television.

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Experience is the Best Teacher: QB Peyton Manning has 1 Super Bowl ring and two Big Game appearances (Sunday makes 3). Broncos cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, was an Arizona Cardinal when they lost Super Bowl XLIII to the Steelers. Denver’s Champ Bailey, though he’s never played in the Super Bowl, has 15 years of NFL experience and is arguably one of the best cornerbacks of his generation. Seattle, on the other hand, is the 2nd youngest team ever to appear in a Super Bowl and is being led by 2nd-year QB Russell Wilson. If experience really is the best teacher, well then, Seattle, we’ve got a problem.

Inside the Peter: Pete Carroll was a freakin’ coaching and recruiting genius during his tenure as USC’s head honcho from 2001-2009. With 7 consecutive BCS bowl appearances, including two BCS Championship appearances, and every imaginable accolade every college coach dreams of earning, it’s obvious that Pete Carroll mastered the art of winning on the collegiate level. Now, he’s doing the damn thing in the pros, too. In four years, he took a struggling Seahawks team that no one paid any mind and turned them into a franchise known for their “Legion of Boom.” He and his crafty staff have successfully designed a system that allows players like Marshawn Lynch and Golden Tate to maximize their talents. Carroll and crew also rode with Wilson, reminding us that sometimes it’s kosher to take a chance on a young gun.

The Seahawks Advantage: All the ‘Hawk talk seems to center around their defense. Their pass rush has been the bane of opposing QB’s existences all season, and as far as Richard Sherman’s concerned, he’s the best cornerback in the League. This season, the Seahawks forced the most turnovers and gave up the fewest passing yards per game. Russell Wilson has proved himself to be a dual threat, but Seattle wins if it does Sunday what it’s done best all year, and that’s defense.

The Broncos Advantage: Peyton Manning threw 55 touchdowns this season which was the most in history. He passed for 5,477 yards which was also the most ever. As a team, Denver became the first ball club to amass more than 600 points in a single season. Simply put, the Broncos are an offensive marvel. Running backs and receivers like Demaryius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker make Manning’s job easier, but even when his receiving core isn’t performing optimally (and it’s rare they aren’t), Peyton’s methodical command helps his offense avoid huge blunders. Defense, they say, wins championships, but offense keeps you in the game.

What the spread says: Denver is a 2.5 point favorite.

Here’s what you say: Defense wins championships, but don’t be quick to turn your nose up at unstoppable offenses. When a team with a stealthy defense is facing an opponent with an explosive offense, you’ve got — well, you’ve got the most exciting Super Bowl we’ve seen in a while. It will be gritty, entertaining, exciting, scary, and honestly, this will probably be an instant classic. I think this game comes down to Peyton and the Broncos not making mistakes. All due respect to Pete Carroll and the Seahawks, but tomorrow, offense will be king. Broncos by 3.

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