Let’s just get it out of the way, shall we? Super Bowl XLVIII features two teams from the only two states in America to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. It’s already had its share of … errr, messed up moments, right from the closing seconds of the NFC Championship game when egos became the talk of the nation.
So, out of this year’s big game between the teams representing the weed capitals of America, who will fly higher when it’s all over and who will end up having taken the biggest … hit?
Now, let’s get something else out of the way, shall we? This whole Richard Sherman thing that had much of America, football and non-football fans alike, talking after the end of the NFC Championship game.
Sherman — the Seattle Seahawks’ standout cornerback — got the ball rolling by throwing the universal symbol of choking in the direction of the San Francisco 49ers bench in general or Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick in particular, followed by an awkward exchange between Sherman and San Francisco receiver Michael Crabtree as the last seconds of the game were left on the clock, capped off by one of the more memorable live television interviews ever conducted following an NFL game with Sherman declaring himself to be unbeatable and his foes little more than mediocre.
It wasn’t the first time Sherman has struck that kind of pose, tearing others down while building himself up to fabulous heights. He was setting himself up to become the next Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, a talented and talkative defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs who spouted off plenty before Super Bowl I and ended up getting knocked out during the game — literally — as the Chiefs were being trounced. While Sherman had plenty of supporters for his actions, he had just as many detractors. Over the past two weeks, however, he seems to have had a bit of an awakening, showing itself in a guest column on the Sports Illustrated web site.
“No one has ever made himself great by showing how small someone else is.” — Irvin Himmel
And then there’ve been concerns over weather conditions in this first Super Bowl ever played outdoors at a cold weather site. How odd it’s seemed to think that the biggest sporting event in the world that’s classified as one of the biggest non-holiday days of the year — Super Sunday — could end up being moved to a Friday, Saturday or Monday instead to avoid bitter cold or a winter blizzard.
That’s messed up, man.
But here we are, hours away from kickoff, and it appears the game will go on as scheduled. Enough of the Sherman hype, enough Weather Channel watching … are you ready for some football?
Here we have the No. 1 offense in Denver with league MVP Peyton Manning going against the No. 1 defense in Seattle with Sherman headlining a dynamic back seven. It’s a classic matchup, you couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s been said that offense wins games but defense wins championships, and it’s been proven to be true in the past.
Defense could very well be a deciding factor in this game. But will it be Seattle’s defense winning it, or Denver’s?
The Seahawks have one of the top power running backs in the game in Marshawn Lynch, with just enough speed to break it once he gets through punishing would-be tacklers. The thing is, the New England Patriots were showing that same style as they lumbered their way to the AFC Championship game and the Broncos ended up handling it defensively just fine. They could do the same thing against Seattle. If you contain the power running of Lynch, you force second-year quarterback Russell Wilson to beat you.
In a matchup of Wilson vs. Manning, the league MVP would get the nod.
The Seahawks will do all they can defensively to keep Manning off the field by pounding the ball inside and killing the clock. But I have a feeling the Broncos will mix it up just enough offensively to do the same thing, with Manning using his vast array of receivers to keep Seattle’s defense guessing all game long when he’s not handing it off to Knowshon Moreno for some clock killing of his own.
In a game of inches, Richard Sherman turned away the 49ers with a well-timed play that could have easily gone the other way had Kaepernick’s pass to Crabtree in the end zone been just a touch longer.
You won’t see Peyton Manning making the same mistake. You won’t be seeing Richard Sherman flashing the choke sign in Manning’s direction.
In the end, in this year’s Doobie Bowl — errr, Super Bowl — it’ll be the Broncos riding the highest, 27-23.
It’ll be a Rocky Mountain high.