NFL SuperBowl 48 Preview

Gather round kids.

In just over a week, we will witness the culmination of months and months of hard hitting football. Arguably the largest sporting event in the world (especially if you're American). A halftime show with Bruno Mars and the Chili Peppers, but don't let that throw you off, as the potentially snowy conditions of New Jersey promises to deliver some great sports entertainment for us, even if you're not a fan of the NFL to date.


There has been a running talking point this season of how Peyton Manning's post-season record isn't that great. Furthermore, many pundits and fans alike are convinced that the veteran QB doesn't like windy or cold conditions. This is just one of many narratives available.

Richard Sherman, the Compton born and raised cornerback, who graduated from Stanford, made the game winning play last week against San Francisco and then aggressively asserted his dominance in one or two interviews directly after the game. Since then, he has been labelled a 'thug', to which he suggested that there was an element of racism in that statement. An interesting point.

If Peyton Manning had said the same things after the game in that fashion, people may not have labelled him a 'thug'. However, because of the delicate racial divide that lives in areas of the USA, when the Compton born black Sherman was labelled thusly, he took offence. Other publications suggested that his graduating from an Ivy league college exempts him from that label. Sherman made the valid point that it's an oxymoron to call a someone who went to a college of that stature a 'thug'. It's all a bit taboo and a fragile topic to cover. Also, it doesn't really matter, because the fact of the matter is that Richard Sherman made the Niners change their gameplan in order to avoid passing the ball on his side of the field. He is the best cornerback in the league and I think Peyton Manning will do like Kaepernick and avoid that avenue on Sunday week. Not only that, but the Stanford kid knows how to market himself, too.


In keeping with the narratives surrounding the Superbowl, I believe there to be a good guy/bad guy angle developing out of the Sherman fiasco. Peyton Manning is this decorated hero of American Football, who is looking to silence any doubters with another Superbowl win. Many neutrals want to see him succeed here. For his legacy, to increase his Hall of Fame credentials and on a more human level, just to see him happy. It sounds sappy, but fans see Peyton as the league's uncle. He's been there so long and has been so professional in his time that in the same way people were sad to see Sir Alex Ferguson retire at Manchester United, people will rue the day Peyton leaves, too.

Does this make him the protagonist? And has Sherman in turn labelled his own Seahawks as the antagonists? The Seahawks fans (the 12th man) scream and shout with a chip on their shoulder. No Superbowl win to date and this young tough squad look like their best chance, too. Not only are their fans the loudest in the league but they show no remorse towards other team's players. As Navorro Bowman was carried off the field on Sunday following his horrific leg twist, their fans not only jeered him, but they threw food at him! Given how tense the game was, I'm not too surprised. In fact I wouldn't have been entirely shocked to see Richard Sherman chase after him to finish the job. Rivalries aside, their defence is a tough as their fans are passionate and I expect they'll cause Manning some problems.

Seattle 24 - 21 Denver

We're expecting snow or sleet on Sunday week. Peyton historically hasn't played well in these kind of conditions and he's been lucky with the weather in Denver this post-season. However, uncle Manning is playing with a determination that wasn't there last year. The Denver defence has been good, but not great. They beat two sides on the way to the Superbowl who don't compare with Seattle, or even San Francisco, who Seattle beat last week.

Seattle are a better defence, the best in the league. Denver are a better offence, the best in the league, too. Does this mean that they cancel each other out? The Denver defence has stepped up a bit, as I said and I haven't been convinced by the Seattle offence. Russel Wilson is very capable of making a big play and did so in the Championship weekend, so there's not reason he can't galvanise his side.
I think Seattle may pip this and I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it went to Overtime. Peyton Manning's ability to hold onto the ball and keep possession with his offence is unrivalled, but Seattle are capable of rattling teams. Manning hasn't been touched much this year and if they want to rattle Denver, their defence needs to get a sack or two and I think they will do. Their fans will make some noise in the cold and open Metlife Stadium.

Key match-ups include Sherman taking on Julius Thomas, Marshawn Lynch and the Denver defensive line and of course, Peyton Manning and the cold weather. I think if Peyton Manning gets going early and gets points on the board, Denver can win this but if the Seattle defence keeps him off the field, then they can do a lot of damage.

MVP: Russel Wilson (5/2) / Marshawn Lynch (4/1)

Matt Carolan
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The hardest graft I've ever done is doing me hair

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