The Super Bowl is always the most highly anticipated football game and, arguably, sporting event of the year, and never has that been truer than in 2014. Super Bowl XLVIII will pit the Seattle Seahawks against the Denver Broncos in what may very well be the most evenly matched Super Bowl of all time on paper.
Seattle is the NFL's best defensive team, while Denver boasts the greatest scoring offense in NFL history. Although the Super Bowl is always a must-see game, the dynamic between the Seahawks and Broncos is something special. With that in mind, football fans won't want to miss a second of the action.
There will be pregame shows galore for much of the day on Feb. 2 on several different stations, but the Super Bowl broadcast itself will get going at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox. Super Bowl XLVIII has the potential to be one of the best ever, so being ready to roll at kickoff time is absolutely integral for any football fan.
Along with a look at all the essential information that you need to know for Super Bowl XLVIII, here are the biggest storylines to follow once you tune in as well.
Date: Sunday, Feb. 2
Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV Info: Fox
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Spread (Bovada): Denver -3
Peyton Manning Goes for Super Bowl Win No. 2
From a statistical standpoint, there is no doubt that Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Manning has already won a Super Bowl, as well as a Super Bowl MVP Award, but many seem to believe that he needs to win another in order to solidify his legacy. He'll have an opportunity to do that against the Seahawks, and he fully realizes how big of an accomplishment making it this far truly is, according to CNN's Rachel Nichols:
Peyton Manning after the win: "I'm telling you, it's hard to get to the Super Bowl. It's hard to win it, but it's hard to get there."— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) January 20, 2014
Manning could very well hold every major passing record by the time he retires, and he had a historically great season in 2013. He set new single-season records for passing yardage and passing touchdowns, and he led the highest-scoring offense of all time as well.
One might assume that Manning's dominant campaign gives the Broncos a big advantage heading into the Super Bowl, but quarterbacks who have been in the same position as Manning previously haven't fared well, per SportsCenter:
P. Manning is 4th QB since 1970 to win conference after leading NFL in Pass yds & TD. Other 3 (Marino, Warner, Brady) all LOST Super Bowl.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 20, 2014
Such trends are meant to be bucked, and it's unlikely that Manning will have them on his mind. There may be no athlete in sports who is more singularly focused on the task at hand than Manning. It can be argued that the Seahawks have a better all-around team than the Broncos; however, Manning alone may be enough to make that a moot point.
Manning has to be well aware of the backlash that will occur if he falls short in the Super Bowl once again, so he will do everything in his power to ensure that the Broncos are victorious.
Richard Sherman Looks to Back Up His Trash Talk
Perhaps Manning's biggest obstacle will be Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. The All-Pro corner has developed into the best player at his position in the eyes of most, and that makes him an interesting figure. In addition to that, though, nobody talks more trash than the dreadlocked star.
Sherman made waves following the NFC Championship Game when he verbally attacked San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree:
Sherman helped clinch the game for Seattle as he tipped a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Crabtree into the arms of teammate Malcolm Smith to quell the Niners' late rally. Sherman called Crabtree a "sorry receiver" after the game, and his rant rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. He admitted that he regretted overshadowing his teammates, as seen in this interview with CNN's Rachel Nichols, but he justified the rant by saying that it occurred on the field of play.
There is no doubt that Sherman is a great player, but he has never been tested more than he will be in the Super Bowl. The Broncos have a seemingly endless supply of offensive weapons including Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas. They also happen to have one of the best quarterbacks ever throwing them the ball.
If Sherman wants everyone to admit that he's the best, then he'll have to prove it on the biggest stage of them all.
Super Bowl Takes New York/New Jersey by Storm
When it was announced a couple years ago that Super Bowl XLVIII would be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., it immediately sparked wide-ranging reactions. Some liked the fact that the NFL was willing to try something new, while others were incredulous about the possibility of cold weather and even snow during a Super Bowl.
With the Super Bowl on the horizon, there is still a great divide in that regard.
As seen in this photo courtesy of NJ.com, MetLife Stadium looked like a winter wonderland less than two weeks ago, and there was plenty of concern that it would manifest itself during the Super Bowl:
That almost certainly won't happen, but WillItSnow.com is forecasting cold weather, which should come as no surprise in New Jersey in the month of February.
As worried as some people seem to be about the weather, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is taking a laid-back approach, according to CBS New York.
I can't control weather. We don't control weather. We made the decision that football is played in the elements and so we recognize that and we made a decision to do that. Championship games are often played in inclement weather. We had several games that were played in inclement weather, including playoff games this year. That's football.
Despite the school of thought that poor weather would favor the Seahawks due to the makeup of their team, the fact of the matter is that both teams are used to playing in inclement weather, and both teams will be on a level playing field because of it.
The weather will be an even bigger topic of conversation if Manning struggles mightily, but it's far more likely that it will be less of a factor than most anticipate.
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