We’re finally here. Millions of us are hoping that Peyton Manning will cement his legacy. Seattle Seahawks fans could care less about his legacy. However – Peyton Manning is the greatest ambassador the National Football League has ever seen. What a show is in store for us if Peyton Manning achieves a Super Bowl victory; if the Seahawks prevail, we may see the toughest show on turf!
The first time Manning went to the Super Bowl, he went up against Rex Grossman, and the Colts won 29-17. For his second and last Super Bowl appearance, he went up against Drew Brees, and the Colts lost 31-17. This time Peyton Manning goes up against Russell Wilson. Can we compare Russell Wilson to Rex Grossman? Not really. Can we compare Wilson to Drew Brees? Well that remains to be seen. Peyton turns 38 in March; Wilson turned 25 in November.
Through two Super Bowl appearances, Peyton Manning has completed 67 percent of his passes. But how many combined touchdowns has he thrown for in those games? Only two. In each of his Super Bowl appearances, Peyton Manning threw for one touchdown and had one interception. He did not add a rushing touchdown in either contest. In beating the Chicago Bears, Manning’s Colts rushed for 191 yards. When they lost to the New Orleans Saints, the Colts rushed for 99.
If you were to predict a Broncos victory, the greatest unsung hero would be Knowshon Moreno. If you have been watching ESPN’s week-long coverage leading up to this game, you have not heard Moreno’s name mentioned once. He seems a very capable running back, and has shown that all season. In Manning’s two Super Bowls with the Colts, the running backs caught 19 passes – 34 percent of all the completions between the two games! In their victory over the Bears, the Colts leading receiver was Joseph Addai. Addai’s 10 receptions were five more than the Colts’ next leading receiver. In their loss to the Saints, Addai tied for the team lead with seven.
The key to success for both teams will be getting first downs. As soon as one team takes the lead, the other team will begin a desperate race against time. The clock will become their enemy, and the team that is behind must manage the clock, stay in the moment and focus on gaining ten yards. Too often we see losing teams panicking, going for long bombs and twenty yard gains downfield when all they need is ten yards. The clock will be ticking as soon one team gets behind in this game; it will be up to them to stay focused and fight for small, efficient yards – yards that get them the first downs.
Seattle’s biggest weakness: their receiving corps. This will be the biggest test for Pete Carroll’s squad. Their receivers showed up for the NFC Championship, and this against a renown San Francisco defense. But will they be able to duplicate that effort? Their no-name (no disrespect intended) cast will have to prove that they can.
Denver’s biggest weakness: their defense. While containment by the defensive ends and outside linebackers will be paramount in this game, the number one test for the defense will be not only stopping, but tackling Marshawn Lynch. If they are unable to stop this ridiculous human in his tracks, the passing game may open up, and affect the containment of Russell Wilson.
Random Predictions: I believe the defensive most valuable player for Denver will be Shaun Phillips. I believe that this man is going to have a gigantic game and take over the field, just as he did time and time again during his days in San Diego. For Seattle, I believe we’re going to see plays never before displayed on a football field. Pete Carroll will pull off his best David Copperfield impression, executing fakes and trick plays no one see coming. At the very least, he will be chomping at the bit for the opportunity to turn the game on its head.
Dark Horse wager: if you are looking for a high-odds play for this Super Bowl, I would take Danny Trevathan, linebacker for the Denver Broncos, to score the first touchdown of the game. This wager is currently going off at odds of 150-1. He missed a chance earlier this season to score by beginning his celebration too soon and releasing the ball prior to crossing the goal line. I feel that this time he will make amends. If he does and you have $10 on it, the bet will pay $1,500.
So – here we are. It is time for Super Bowl XLVIII: Manning versus Might. Hopefully you have a big party to go to. Hopefully you are well-off enough to have plenty of food and a big screen to watch it on. Hopefully your friends and family are healthy enough to truly enjoy this game. I hope they are. Have a wonderful time and may both teams put on a show!