Let’s be serious here, they’re not moving the Super Bowl to another day for weather reasons, they’re just not.
Talking up this possibility, I assume, is mostly the NFL’s way of building some kind of false weather-preparedness drama as the day arrives.
But come on . . .
Seattle will play Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII next Sunday in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, as scheduled, whether there is snow, sleet, rain, wind or the threat of mussing up Bruno Mars’ hair at halftime.
The owners put this game in the Northeast in February, they knew it would be cold, and there’s no way they’re flipping around the TV schedule or their weekend party plans because of some forecasted precipitation.
So let’s put that issue and maybe a few others into realistic perspective as we look ahead to the biggest issues heading into Super Bowl Week . . .
The worse the weather, the worse it might go for quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ pass-focused offense.
Of course during all those media sessions Manning will only be asked about his losing record (11-12) in cold-weather games . . . what . . . maybe 1,500 times?
That might be a major motivation for Manning, but the fact remains that MetLife’s wind patterns can be a nightmare for touch-pass QBs.
Manning’s brother Eli (the New York Giants’ QB) has at times conquered the winds and at times has very much not.
This is important because during the regular season, Denver had the NFL’s most pass attempts and completions and Manning threw for an NFL-record 51 touchdown passes.
Meanwhile, Seattle doesn’t need to throw it — the Seahawks threw it the second-fewest times in the league (the 49ers threw it the least) for the third-fewest completions.
And this is a particularly big deal when you toss Manning up against the Seattle pass defense, which led the league with 28 regular-season interceptions and then had two more in the NFC Championship game, you might recall.
The windier and snowier it is, the better Seattle’s chances are for picking off one or two (or three) of Manning flutter-balls.
How will Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman handle the Super Bowl spotlight?
It isn’t always the worst thing for a player or two to gobble up all the pre-game attention; sometimes it takes the pressure off of the rest of the team.
Hey, if you can back it up, you can be as brash as you want to be and teammates usually love it.
And in the wake of Sherman’s infamous antics after beating the 49ers last Sunday, we know he’ll draw every microphone this week.
He can probably handle it and maybe it will all only motivate him to play even better in the Super Bowl.
But if we hear that his teammates are starting to mutter a little bit about the Sherman Act . . . or if Sherman sounds like he’s veering out of control . . . it might not be the strongest sign for Seattle’s concentration level on Super Bowl Sunday.
How much of a physical toll did the NFC title game take on Seattle?
We all know the 49ers took a beating in that game. But the Seahawks were getting hit just as hard.
Even with the extra week off I’ll be curious to see how fresh and peppy the Seahawks look leading into the game.
How much pre-game talk will focus on Denver’s designed “pick” or “rub” routes, specifically the ones run by Wes Welker?
It’s already a major topic, thanks to New England coach Bill Belichick’s criticism of Welker’s crash into Patriots cornerback Aquib Talib in the AFC Championship game — a collision that put Talib out for the rest of the game.
I’m sure Seattle’s coaches will do their best to remind everybody that these plays are supposed to be illegal.
And I’m sure Denver’s coaches and players will point out that Welker didn’t receive a penalty on the play and that the NFL later ruled it was all legal.
If the game officials are convinced to look for penalties on the controversial Denver routes, I’m not sure how the Broncos can get their receivers consistently open against the Seahawks secondary.
And if the referees go into this thinking Welker and his comrades should generally be given free rein to do what they’ve done all season, then it could be open season for Manning next Sunday.
That’s just part of the maneuvering in the days leading into Super Bowl XLVIII. It’s the game before the game and the parties and maybe during all the freezing weather.
By Tim Kawakami
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