The Super Bowl is bound to be one of the biggest sports attractions of the year, no matter what two teams are playing. With the playoffs now narrowed down to just four teams, the potential matchups are more clear.
Unless their favorite teams are playing, most football fans just hope for the two teams that will create the best game. No one without a vested rooting interest wants to see a blowout.
Of the four combinations still possible, two of them carry either a commercial and/or pure football appeal.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos
Seattle's top-rated defense against Denver's top-rated offense is a pure football storyline that could create an awesome result.
Peyton Manning leading his team to a Super Bowl victory against the Seahawks defense would be his biggest NFL accomplishment. That proclamation isn't meant as a disrespect to anything Manning has done thus far in his Hall of Fame career.
Denver scored an insane 606 points this season; the next closest team had 445. That's how head and shoulders above the competition the Broncos were on offense.
But considering what Seattle's defense did in 2013, beating them would be more than noteworthy.
In a season in which teams scored an average of 23.4 points per game, Seattle gave up just 14.4. It was one of only three teams that had more interceptions than touchdown passes allowed.
While the Broncos offense received well-deserved attention for its record-breaking season, the Seahawks' defense was one of the best units in history when you consider the era.
Chase Stuart of Football Perspective has high praise for Seattle's pass defense:
Seattle has one of the top five pass defenses of the last 64 years. And for good reason: cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas were both selected as first-team All-Pros by the Associated Press, and safety Kam Chancellor was named to the Pro Bowl.
Defensive linemen Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, and Brandon Mebane had outstanding years, Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons are great edge rushers, and linebacker K.J. Wright had been very good in pass coverage, too.
This is a pass defense without a weakness, and I think, after accounting for era, it’s the second best since at least 1970.
This matchup would be the ultimate battle of offense versus defense. In such a copycat league, the winner of this potential matchup could go a long way towards shaping the NFL over the next five seasons.
San Francisco 49ers vs. New England Patriots
As good as both of these franchises have been, they have never met in the Super Bowl. Marquee organizations sell the appeal of the big game even more than star players, but this matchup would have its share of those too.
New England's Tom Brady has won three Super Bowl rings and is an unquestioned Hall of Famer when he hangs up his cleats. San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick is just beginning his rise to stardom. As of now, he's more of a celebrity than a top player.
He's a household name and face, but he hasn't accomplished enough on the field to warrant the "star" title. A Super Bowl win over Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots would definitely take him to the next level.
Back in Aug. 2013, Ron Jaworski of ESPN said Kaepernick could be "one of the greatest quarterbacks ever."
Kaepernick took it in stride, saying, "I'm working. To me, it's a great honor he said that. I'm very flattered by it. But at the same time, I haven't played a full season yet."
Now Kaepernick has played a full season and he has his team one step away from reaching the Super Bowl for the second straight season.
If the Niners beat Seattle and get to MetLife Stadium to play Brady and the Patriots—or Manning and the Broncos for that matter—he'll have his chance to validate Jaworski's claims.
Would it be the coronation of a new king, or another jewel for old royalty?
Most fans probably wouldn't mind getting a chance to watch this one play out.
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