Anyone else getting real annoyed with the redundant Super Bowl logos over the past four years? Yeah, Goodell, nothing enhances the biggest game in America like the most boring logo in sports. My personal favorite was the Super Bowl XXXVI logo over the outline of the United States (yeah, biased Patriots fan here. Sue me). Now I have to listen to Beautiful Day.
I digress, the big game is tomorrow night in East Rutherford, NJ and for the first time in recent memory I feel like the two teams pitted against one another are the most deserving. I’m looking at you 2006 Chicago Bears. The Seattle Seahawks are hoisting the league’s number one defense, lead by the man that has been haunting Erin Andrews’ dreams for the past two weeks, Mr. Richard Sherman. And on the other side of the ball is the greatest offense to ever play the game of football, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
The fact that we have two number one seeds going at it, both literally a county-sized distance away from their home fields, means we’re in for one hell of a battle come Sunday. It’s gonna be chock full of hard-hitting, trash talk-spitting, legend-provoking, perfectly-legal-for-medicinal-use-only-marijuana-smoking action. Hey, I’d want to work for Pete Carroll too.
Everybody is saying that this game will come down to the wire. And since we’ve had some fantastic finishes to the end of the NFL season as of late, I’m sure this game will not disappoint. Both teams will come out flying, and expect some big plays early.
Here are my thoughts:
- The Denver offense scored 606 points during the regular season, an NFL record
- The Seattle Defense gave up 231 points during the regular season, 1st in the league
- Denver’s defense ranked 22nd in points allowed this year
- Seattle’s offense ranked 9th in points scored, 72 of those coming from Marshawn Lynch
- TO Ratio during regular season: Seattle +20 Denver +/- 0
Seattle takes care of the football. Not only that, but their defense gets them the ball through takeaways. Taking care of the football is so important in the playoffs, since every mistake becomes that much more costly. Advantage Seattle. And a big advantage at that.
Clichés are clichés because they’re true. And what saying rolls around when a top defense is in the playoffs? Defense wins championships. Oh but it’s a passing league now! And most of those defenses weren’t taking on the best offense to ever play. Guess what, doesn’t matter. Seattle’s offense is good enough to capitalize on the mistakes that their defense will trigger.
Blasphemy! Peyton Manning and his offense are unstoppable! Right?
They didn’t look unstoppable against San Diego a few weeks back. They didn’t look unstoppable against Indianapolis or New England during the regular season. The beauty of football is how complex and crazy the game gets, its roots remain the same. And one of those roots is the fact that a defense that can make stops and force turnovers will win the game. Period. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
If you want to talk about offensive juggernauts, let’s talk about the greatest show on turf. One of the highest powered offenses ever. The 2001 St. Louis Rams finished the regular season with a point differential of 230, an average of 14.4 points/game. They were winning by an average of over two touchdowns per game. And come playoff time, they threw up all over their newly designed jerseys ( I still prefer the bright yellow and purple. You go Kurt Warner).
The Patriots beat the Rams by game planning for their offense. Bill Belichick made in-cuts and jamming receivers an art form in that game. His defense was able to force enough stops and play well enough to allow his offense to score 20 and win the game. I say “well enough” because that’s all it takes. An effective offense only needs one or two breaks to put the game away.
Fast forward six years. Oh, how the tables have turned. If you want unstoppable, you got it buddy. The newly formed New England Patriots scored 589 points in 2007 (then, an NFL record). An 18-0 start was one minute and “gum on the helmet” catch away from becoming the absolute best season in NFL history. But how was it tainted? Defense. Tom Coughlin’s defense pressured, hit and knocked down Tom Brady and played good enough to give Eli Manning a chance to win the game. And he capitalized.
The team that averaged a point differential of 19.7 during the season (sweet fancy Moses!) was held to 14 points. The playoffs are a different time, and we see it time and time again that high powered offenses are beaten by good defense. A well rounded team will always win the game when it matters most.
Now, this game will be unreal. The Denver offense is unreal. But history does not lie. And the Seattle defense will face its toughest challenge tomorrow night. Who will win the game? I don’t know any more than anybody else. But when a great defense meets a great offense, I’ll take the defense 9 times out of 10.
I’m picking Seattle over Denver: 24-21.