This is it, folks. The absolute last meaningful football game until after Labor Day. Cherish this moment because after this, Jack, we’re done. Finito. Finished.
The positive in such a sad moment is that it’s the Super Bowl, an American-made invention that’s about as unstoppable as it is lucrative. How the big game turns out this year in a cold weather city is anybody guess. But with the top ranked defense and top ranked offense squaring off, something memorable is bound to happen.
It’s a battle of quarterbacks, one a living, breathing demigod in the sport attempting to cement his legacy with a second Lombardi Trophy; the other a young upstart quickly crafting his own mystique in the Pacific Northwest. There’s a man of few words known only as “Beast Mode.” And a receiving committee set to go toe-to-toe with the world’s most controversial defensive back and his pals known as the “Legion of Boom.”
Plus, if you’re doing it right, you’ll be at a Super Bowl party with great finger food and endless libations.
1. Per our own statistician David Dennis, since the Seahawks defense became the force of nature seen today in 2012, Seattle is 5-0 against Super Bowl champs. They’ve defeated Brees twice and beating Eli, Rodgers and Brady all once. Here are the average stats: 246 yards, 11.4 points, four touchdowns and seven interceptions. Granted, five of those picks came from Eli, but those are rather ridiculous numbers.
2. That being said, Peyton’s year was all sorts of stupid. Fifty-five touchdowns and 5,477 passing yards. And his playoff numbers thus far have been solid, throwing for 630 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in two games. Seattle’s vaunted defense has yet to knuckle up against the best of the best, which is what number 18 is currently playing like. Oh, and he locked up his fifth MVP award (two more than any player in league history) and Offensive Player of the Year last night.
3. What’s that, you say? How does Peyton form against top ranked defenses? Glad you asked because according to SBNation, Archie’s middle son is 4-4 with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Now before taking those numbers at face value and doing what them with you will, also realize Peyton’s 4-0 since 2005 with an 8-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
4. Marshawn Lynch’s playoff statistics since he joined Seattle (six games games):
*1/8/2011 Vs. New Orleans: 19 rushes, 131 yards, 1 TD, 1 all-time highlight
*1/16/2011 Vs. Chicago: 4 rushes, 2 yards (meh)
*1/6/2013 Vs. Washington: 20 rushes, 132 yards, 1 TD
*1/13/2013 Vs. Atlanta: 16 rushes, 46 yards, 1 TD
*1/11/2014 Vs. New Orleans: 28 rushes, 140 yards, 2 TDs
*1/19/2014 Vs. San Francisco: 22 rushes, 109 yards, 1 TD
Spread those numbers across an entire season and Marshawn is rushing for 1,488 yards and 16 touchdowns on over 5 YPC.
Whoever has a problem with Lynch’s approach to the media needs to chill. It’s atypical for a running back to be this consistently great in postseason play (especially in a passing league) as it is for a star of Lynch’s magnitude to be as quiet and humble as he is. Just sit back and enjoy the excellence.
5. Calling someone a “good guy” in sports comes with its own set of risks, but Demaryius Thomas just comes off as one with his head firmly planted on his shoulders. He finished second in the league in touchdowns to Jimmy Graham with 14 and fourth in receiving yards with 1,430. More importantly, it’s hard not to the Georgia native given his unique backstory. As cool as it’d be to see Peyton get MVP if the Broncos win, having D.T. take home the honor and put on for his mother aka the love of his life – who ironically has never seen him play – would be even more inspiring.
6. One time for Earl Thomas. As quiet as Richard Sherman is boisterous, Seattle’s free safety might actually be a better defensive back than Sherman. His season stats – 105 total tackles, 5 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles – are great, but – watch out, tired sports cliche coming up – he’s one of those players that you really need to watch to appreciate. Just as capable as rushing the quarterback as he is playing centerfield, Thomas definitely has reached that Polamalu/Reed mountaintop. He’s the best safety in football.
7. According to advertising legend Lee Garfinkel – the brain behind the iconic Cindy Crawford Pepsi ads – don’t expect too much from this year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials. In his words, “Average and okay.”
8. Seattle’s defense has received the brunt of the coverage, but it’s Denver’s who has to be up to the challenge. In the AFC Championship, the Broncos front seven made Tom Brady uncomfortable basically all afternoon and never allowed New England’s running game to find its rhythm.
Consider this a different beast. Denver’s linebackers will need to contain the outside because – while he hasn’t played up to the degree his stellar play has commanded respect for – Russell Wilson is a tad more athletic. And, well, Beast Mode stays ready. Contain those two and the city of Denver will have had the best start to a year for an American city…well…ever with weed being legalized and a (potential) Super Bowl title.
9. Some may know this, some may not know this. Bruno Mars isn’t being paid for his halftime performance. The NFL does, however, foot the bill for all expenses associated with the performance and leg work leading up to what amounts to essentially a 12-minute concert on national TV.
10. This isn’t making a prediction. But imagine if Seattle wins. No, seriously, picture this for a moment. Richard Sherman, Pete Carroll and Marshawn Lynch walk in a post-game press conference…