Super Bowl XLIX Preview


Art by Maddy Mueller.

Graham Ratermann

Watching the conference championships of the National Football Leauge was a lot like watching pro-wrestling, the loveable good guys fell hard to the evil heels.
In the NFC title bout, the Packers jumped to a lead, but as Aaron Rodgers’ calf deteriorated, their lead faltered and the arrogant Legion of Boom pulled out a dramatic victory. The second game of the evening on the AFC side featured a matchup of two elite quarterbacks. One surrounded by talent, the other with a mere roster: one who wears man Uggs and one who sports a neck beard. The game ended with the Patriots running away from the Colts in a rout.
Now, following the conference championships, an unofficial national holiday is here: Super Bowl Sunday. Two weeks ago in the NFC title game, the Seattle Seahawks stormed back to defeat Green Bay and in the AFC Championship, the New England Patriots blew out the Colts. Now, in the most watched game of the year, Belichick’s Patriots take on Caroll’s Seahawks in Arizona.
The Seahawks are loud and brash, which rubs some people the wrong way. The Patriots have a history of bending, and at times breaking, the rules most recently with Deflategate. A term coined after the Patriots allegedly purposefully deflated 11 of the 12 game balls in the AFC title game. This year’s Super Bowl is sure to hold viewers’ attention as they root for the team they dislike the least.
In Vegas the game is a pick ‘em, meaning there is no spread, and bettors merely pick a team to win. With a week of action left it will be interesting to see where the spread finally lands as no Super Bowl has ever kicked off at pick ‘em odds.
With such a close spread, hopefully the game will be exciting – unlike last year’s blowout. For the Seahawks keeping the game close to give quarterback Russell Wilson a chance will rest heavily on the shoulders of Marshawn Lynch, who rushed for 157 yards in the NFC Championship game. The Patriots boast one of the best man coverage units in the league anchored by All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis effectively shutting down the Seahawks traditional passing game.
When the traditional passing game breaks down is when things get interesting and the game turns into backyard football. Wilson is by far the best sandbox quarterback in the NFL and can improvise on the fly, with a big play on a broken play, Wilson has the ability to swing the momentum of the game, keep the Seahawks in the hunt or even win the game in the final seconds.
On the other side of the ball the Patriots are hard to stop, but the Seahawks are very hard to beat. Depending on the flavor of the night the Patriots can go power run led by bruising back Legarrette Blount or spread offense working the middle of the field. Throwing in an additional wrinkle is the new eligible/ineligible receiver scheme that the Patriots have recently made use of.
Keys for Seattle’s Legion of Boom is first making sure corner Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas are healthy enough to play, and secondly creating a winnable match up against Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. This duty falls to safety Kam chancellor and KJ Wright who both do well in man coverage.

“The Patriots because they cheat. Tom Brady is a legend. Other people who I would put on Tom Brady’s level are Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus Christ…yeah. Those are about the only people I can think of. The Seahawks are very awful. Very bad. Do they even play football? They’re not gonna win, that’s for sure.”

Matt Orf, senior

Photo by Madelyn Stewart.

“I think the Seahawks, just because they’re too physical for the Patriots. Brady’s not ready for it. He’s not. Peyton wasn’t, and Brady’s not gonna be. And Gronk, he’s a dominant force, but Earl Thomas is shutting him down. He’s not doing anything.”

Anthony Robinson, junior

Photo by Madelyn Stewart.

Prediction: Seahawks over Patriots 24-21
The game will be a brutal slugfest led by power run games. The Patriots’ spread offense won’t be as effective against the stifling Seattle defense and deep passing attempts for Brady will lead to turnovers. Using trickery and straight ahead running the Patriots will lead entering the fourth quarter but in a wild finish Russell Wilson will work his magic mobility and, in a come from behind victory, the Seahawks will repeat as Super Bowl Champions.