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Friday, January 31, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII: Predictions and other thoughts

    It’s here at last. America’s unofficial holiday-the Super Bowl. The Denver Broncos bring football’s Number 1 offense to East Rutherford and the Seattle Seahawks bring the Number 1 defense.

    I’m very happy it’s going to be a cold-weather Super Bowl. One of (American) football’s greatest traditions is that, except in truly extraordinary circumstances, it is played in any type of weather. Football’s biggest game should be no exception. The Weather Channel says it’s going to be mostly cloudy, with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the 20s, so come game time, it’s expected to be right around 40*F. 

    This is going to be a very close game. Peyton Manning and his various weapons have been dropping points on opponents all year long, but they haven’t played many defenses that line up with Seattle’s. Their three losses came against New England, San Diego, and Indianapolis, none of which had particularly spectacular defensive corps this season. Seattle will be able to put up big names (especially Sherman and Chancellor) against every one of the Broncos’ receivers. This isn’t to say Seattle will just dominate, as Denver has huge potential with Wes Welker in the slot.

    Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hasn’t put many particularly remarkable stats up in his team’s run to the Super Bowl, but he is very good outside the pocket and is able to run the football. Denver needs to keep him cornered in the pocket if they want to win this game. The oft-injured Percy Harvin could make a big impact on the game, but nobody really knows how healthy he is, and there’s quite the risk that he could get injured again.

    Eleven years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders met in the Super Bowl in San Diego. Tampa Bay had the best defense by yardage, and Oakland boasted the best offense. Tampa won that Super Bowl because they played aggressively and forced turnovers. If Seattle wants to win this game, they need to do the same.  

    Peyton Manning, for all his merits, has often been criticized for not being able to play well in the cold weather. Is 40*F “cold”? Not really, at least by Denver standards. I don’t see the weather being a huge factor in this game, and if it does get cold, there’s a definite possibility that both teams will suffer setbacks, as Seattle is not typically known for very cold weather either. (Chilly and rainy, sure, but not cold cold)

    The Seahawks have beaten very strong teams in New Orleans and San Francisco to get here. Denver stopped a rejuvenated San Diego team and a badly banged up New England team. Peyton Manning plays a good game but falls just short as Seattle’s defense barely holds Denver at bay.

Prediction: Seahawks 27-24

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

-Why are companies advertising their Super Bowl commercials before they actually air? That seems incredibly dense, as part of the draw to the commercials is that they’re supposed to be a surprise, something people wait for all year. Sure, you’ll get more people to see it, but the illusion all but disappears.

-Bruno Mars is an okay musician, but he is far from my first choice for the Halftime Show. I don’t mind his style of pop-rock music, but his voice has always sounded really whiny. “Treasure” and “Runaway” aren’t bad songs but when you stop and think about it, shouldn’t someone iconic from New Jersey or New York be performing instead of some goofy-looking dip who is known for overly sappy stuff like “When I Was Your Man”, “Just the Way You Are”, or “Grenade”? I assume he’ll do a medley of songs, so at least one of those songs will probably be heard. Where’s Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, or Billy Joel?  I am, however, very excited to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their funk-rock style of music is perfect to get the juices flowing. I’m also excited to see opera-singer Renee Fleming perform the Star-Spangled Banner.

-The logo for this year’s Super Bowl, and the three used before, is boring. I miss the original, colorful, and unique logos of days past. I know it’s strange to get nostalgic for something that’s only been gone for 4 years, but I still don’t like the streamlined logos that we have now.

-We seriously need to stop talking about Richard Sherman’s remarks after the Seahawks beat the 49ers. Was what he said unprofessional? Yes, to a certain extent, but he quickly apologized and his reasoning for trash-talking were at the very least understandable. I’m so sick of these events: Someone says something off-color, everyone loses their minds, morons on Twitter post things that are way worse than whatever the original remarks were, and nobody is able to go into a discussion with a level head. And Colin Kaepernick isn’t helping this relatively innocuous event by saying that Sherman is “afraid” of San Francisco’s receiving corps. (He also looks fairly stupid saying that after his receivers didn’t put enough points on the board to beat the Hawks.)

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