In the aftermath of the incredible NFC Championship game and the subsequent backlash of Richard Sherman’s amazing post game interview, the one thing that sticks out in my mind are the narratives this dream Super Bowl matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks produce.
Throw a dart and you’ll hit something absolutely captivating about this game, which makes this one of the best matchups in a Super Bowl we’ve seen in quite some time. Let’s go through a few of them.
Old school pocket passer versus new school scrambler extraordinaire.
This matchup will no doubt spark the debate between die hard football fans. It’s a question that has been on everyone’s mind since the emergence of guys like Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III. Can you win without a true pocket passer? 10 years ago, guys like this wouldn’t have been given the time of day, but now coaches seem more willing to bring in quarterbacks with athleticism. Someone like Johnny Manziel would be an afterthought in the past, and now reports are surfacing he could be the first pick in the draft.
I still think it’s more effective to build your team around a quarterback who looks to beat you with his arm rather than his legs. Even if Wilson does go on to win this game with the Seahawks, the argument against him will be he did it on the back of his defense. But even I cannot deny the success the new age of quarterbacks are having, even if it hasn’t quite led to Super Bowl victories (Last five SB winning QBs were Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger—all pocket passers).
Peyton Manning versus the cold weather
You’re probably already sick of hearing about this one, but it’ll likely be the most talked about aspect of Super Bowl 2014. Can Manning get over the hump in a huge cold weather game? Even his victories in the playoffs in Denver this year, the weather did not creep down into below freezing temperatures, nor was there the swirling winds East Rutherford in February promises to provide.
Nobody questions Manning in big games, but there is definitely a trend when the weather turns foul. Early forecasts are showing rain and awful temperatures. How will he react?
New school, fast paced offense versus old school, nasty defense (literally the No. 1 offense versus the No. 1 defense).
The Broncos set all kinds of records this season. They scored the most points and total touchdowns (obviously, but still something) in NFL history, Manning threw for more yards and touchdowns than any other quarterback in NFL history and they tied a record for most 50 point games in a season. I’m sure there were several other records, but you get the picture.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, have a swarming defense and were No.1 in total yards allowed, total points allowed and total passing yards allowed this season. Three of their four starting DBs earned All Pro honors (not Pro Bowl….ALL PRO). The only “blemish” on their defense is they were seventh defending the run, something Denver doesn’t do too much of anyway.
If Manning’s cold weather narrative isn’t blown up as the biggest story of the game, this will be.
Richard Sherman versus Demaryius Thomas.
With this one we dive a little deeper into the game for the die hard fan. You have arguably the top cornerback in the game against a top five wide receiver. How much will Manning be willing to test Sherman? Kaepernick only looked his way twice yesterday, and the final time cost him a trip to the Super Bowl. If anyone can find holes in this secondary, it’s Manning, but it will prove a daunting task.
On top of that you have Sherman, a guy who clearly likes to talk a big game, and Thomas, who is about as humble as they come which is refreshing given his position has historically produced the most divas. The clash of their talent as well as their personality will make this the most talked about individual matchup.
Champ Bailey looking to (possibly) ride off into the sunset to put a stamp on his Hall of Fame career.
This one is for me. I’ve always been a fan of Champ Bailey and the way he carries himself. He’s been one of if not the best cornerback to ever play. He may not have the staggering interception numbers some of the top tier corners have, but that’s simply because quarterbacks knew not to throw to his side. It was almost as if your defense played on half a field with Champ in the game.
Bailey is 15 years into his stellar career, yet he’s still one of the best corners in the NFL right now. It’s unbelievable how well he’s been able to play the past couple years at a position that typically sees a drastic fall off once players reach their 30s. Although he’s still playing at a high level, Bailey could be ready to ride off into the sunset. He turns 36 this June.
It’s all gold. Forget about heading to the kitchen for a refill on the nachos midway through the 2nd quarter. You won’t be able to take your eyes off this one. One can only hope the casual fan is treated to an all-time classic this matchup (on paper) deserves.