Super Bowl XLVIII, one for the books

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Super Bowl XLVIII is a game for the history books. After 65 preseason games, 256 regular season contests and ten more post-season affairs, only one game remains in the 2013-2014 NFL season. On Feb. 2, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will meet at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII. It is a game overflowing with storylines; Peyton Manning’s assault on the record books, Richard Sherman’s assault on America’s sensibilities and Mother Nature’s assault on everything else involved.

As the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather city, the weather has loomed over this game like storm clouds gathering. It looks like fans will be chilly with the weather reaching the mid-20s. That would shatter the record for the coldest outdoor Super Bowl ever. The record is 39 degrees, set all the way back in 1972 at the game in Louisiana. The league spent millions on contingency plans related to the weather. There are plans in place to move the game anywhere from Friday, Jan. 31 to Monday, Feb. 3, if need be.

With wind not a huge factor, a few inches of snow during the game isn’t going to ruin anything. A few players may slip and slide a bit, which could lead to a big play or two. Fans like big plays, fans like snow, fans will love Super Bowl XLVIII if it features both. But no one actually knows what the weather will be like other than that it will be freezing on game day. Will Mother Nature play a major role? Will it be a snowing atmosphere or just a cold atmosphere? We will soon find out.

After blowing up in a post-game interview following his huge play that sealed the NFC Championship, Sherman was derided as “classless,” and a “thug,” but what people do not know about Sherman is that he is an emotional player, like many others. He’s a great man who’s extremely well spoken, does great things off the field and obviously a great player on the field. Sherman did indeed apologize for his actions, although he also criticized the way he was characterized. The fact that a great play became an outburst that’s turned into a debate on race and perception in sports and society is absurd.

In his 16 NFL season, Manning re-wrote the single-season record book at the quarterback position. His 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdown passes are both NFL records. On Feb. 1, Manning will probably win his fifth NFL MVP, it’s as certain as death and taxes. Now Manning sits one win away from his second Super Bowl win, a victory that would place him among the top of the list of the best to ever play the game. Manning is also quite literally the only player on either team who has tasted victory in the Super Bowl.

For the first time since 2009, the top seeds from both the AFC and NFC will meet in the Super Bowl. In fact, it’s only the second time in the past two decades that’s happened. It also marks only the sixth time since the NFL merger that the NFL’s top offense will face the league’s top defense in football’s biggest game. It’s a matchup that has historically favored the defense. The team with the top defense won four of the past five meetings, the last coming when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers demolished the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. Of course, none of those teams had to go up against the 2013 Denver Broncos. So who will win the Super Bowl? Tune in to the game to find out.

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