By Anthony Rushing
No more distractions. No more Deflate-Gate. No more waiting on Marshawn Lynch to answer questions he doesn’t feel like answering. It’s finally time to play a Super Bowl. The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks have had two weeks to prepare for one another, now it’s time for the best of the NFL to get it on. It would be easy to lose this game in the shuffle of every headline for the past two weeks that’s taken over the NFL portion of SportsCenter. Seriously, it’s been that much. However, this game has potential to go down as a classic for all the right reasons. Two of the league’s top quarterbacks, the chess match between two of the league’s top head coaches, and the handful of sub-plots which add plenty of intrigue.
While this Super Bowl could be viewed as being even, there still has to be a winner. The Patriots are looking for their fourth Super Bowl title. There’s something different about this year’s team than the past two Super Bowl teams that came up short to the New York Giants in 2007 and 2011. This Patriots team doesn’t come in undefeated or with an inferior defense. They’re arguably more balanced, reminiscent of their Super Bowl-winning teams. Quarterback Tom Brady is still arguably the best at his position, he has a balanced run-game (LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen), a go-to wide receiver (Julian Edelman), and the game’s best tight end (Rob Gronkowski). The Patriots secondary, anchored this season by Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty, may not get the publicity Seattle’s gets, however they’re no pushovers.
Despite everything New England brings to the table, they’re still not Seattle. The Seahawks are the defending champions. Russell Wilson is as dangerous with his legs as he is with his arm. Marshawn Lynch can turn a game around on just one run. Critics can have a field day with what Lynch does or doesn’t do off the field, however on the field he’s a difference-maker. Seattle’s wide receivers are underrated, and then there’s that defense. The “Legion of Boom” secondary — Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor — this defense is loaded and on any given Sunday a different name can dominate.
While I can’t say I’d be surprised if New England pulls out of Phoenix with the Vince Lombardi trophy, I still must go with Seattle. There isn’t much difference in this team from last year’s Super Bowl winners. The notion that this team arguably may have played their worst offensive game of the season in the NFC Championship game, yet they still managed to find a way to beat the Green Bay Packers. I just don’t see Seattle coming out flat again, not for this, not for a chance at history.
Regardless of which team wins, this has all the makings of a potential classic. Then again, that was supposed to be the case last year when Seattle faced Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. We know how that turned out.
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