The time to talk, or in Marshawn Lynch's case not talk, is over. The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos finally get to tee it up and get after it in Super Bowl XLVIII at Met Life Stadium in suburban New Jersey. Sunday afternoon's kickoff is scheduled for 3:37 p.m. PST. Pregame is...well it's probably on right now.
It's a titanic struggle between a legendary offense and the best defense in football. Its old-timer Peyton Manning against upstart Russell Wilson. It's avuncular John Fox against New Age-y Pete Carroll. It's the Number One seed from each conference head to head. Everything is present to make the football fan believe that this could be one of the great Super Bowls of all time.
The Broncos need this in the worst way because:
1.) They haven't had a sniff of The Big One since John Elway retired to his sky box. The closest the Broncos have come to glory since Elway was an improbable run into the playoffs behind Tim Tebow. But the Broncos went as far as they were going to on that wing and that prayer. Exit Tebow, enter Manning and, voila, the threshold of The Promised Land.
2.) But Manning has a lot of miles on the odometer. Is this his best chance for a second ring? (He won with Indianapolis in 2007) Certainly it is. Is it his last chance? Bronco fans don't want to think about it, but this could be his last game. It might well be his last Super Bowl appearance.
3.) John Fox left the team earlier this year because of a heart ailment. His team loves him, as do the fans, but would his health hold up for another epic run?
The Seahawks need this in the worst way because:
1.) Long long ago in a land far far away the Seahawks played the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL. The Steelers won that game, but Seahawks' fans have denied the outcome ever since. A win on Sunday would apply a measure of balm to the 12th Man's booboo.
2.) The Seahawks young stars will eventually get paid. Russell Wilson is still playing under a rookie third round draft pick contract that makes him approximately the 1,993rd highest paid quarterback in a 32 team league. This kind of good fortune has allowed the Seahawks to sign veteran talent (such as Cliff Avril) to supply the depth that a contender must have to survive a long season. But the mailman's coming to Russell Wilson's house. And he's carrying A BOATLOAD of cash. Future Seahawks' teams are unlikely to be as deep and rich in talent as this team.
3.) It will be at least 10 years before another cool/cold weather Super Bowl will be scheduled. The Seahawks and their ground and pound nature are made for bad weather. Peyton Manning is at his best in a climate controlled comfort. The stars are aligned. The Hawks just hope that you won't be able to see the stars for the snow clouds.
Las Vegas opened this game two weeks ago with the Seahawks as a 2.5 point favorite. Denver money poured in until the spread actually hit 2.5 in their favor. The line drifted Seattle's way a point, but as the weather forecast improves, the Broncos are again a 2.5 favorite. The view from here is that history favors the defense in matchups such as this. To be safe you might want to buy a half point to move the line to three, but take the Hawks and the points. I think they win outright.