The eyes of a nation will watch as the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos clash in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, 2014.
The Super Bowl is an unofficial holiday, where even casual fans tune in to see the action, if not the countless quality commercials that companies spend billions on each year for something as simple as a 30-second time slot.
Everything is marketable and profitable surrounding the Super Bowl, whether it is advertisements, player endorsements after a win, or the wild prop bets that surround the game.
There are plenty of avenues to catch the game and even profit via odds—just do not lose sight of the best part of all in the frantic week leading up to the game: the game itself.
Date: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Radio: ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio
Betting Info (via Bovada)
- Over/Under: 47 points
- Spread: Denver (-3)
The game, above all else, is most important. There is no cute story about an underdog or some specific miracle play that led to this point.
No, both Seattle and Denver bullied the competition into submission most of the year, which gives fans a matchup that pits the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense—as a title game should.
One could reach for a storyline and highlight the Seahawks' lack of experience in the game, which ESPN points out:
Seattle will be the 1st team to enter a Super Bowl without a player having any Super Bowl experience since the 1990 Bills. (via Elias)— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 26, 2014
But in reality, Seattle was so unstoppable all season that it is a bit of a stretch. Not many teams have been as dominant as the Seahawks defense was this year:
The @Seahawks are the first defense to lead the NFL in points allowed, yards allowed and takeaways since the 1985 Bears.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 25, 2014
Much of the reason for Seattle's rise to prominence has been a savvy front office, which has hit on the majority of its draft picks. In turn, this talent led to plenty of free cash to use in an effort to upgrade the rest of the roster.
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe breaks it down best:
And the Seahawks were able to splurge for Harvin and their three defensive ends because Russell Wilson ($681,000), Richard Sherman ($600,000), Doug Baldwin ($560,000), Golden Tate ($880,000), Earl Thomas ($3.5 million), Bruce Irvin ($1.9 million), and Bobby Wagner ($979,000) are playing on their rookie contracts.
Wilson and Sherman are obviously the biggest names there, but Earl Thomas is one of the NFL's best safeties, and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is an unheralded superstar who ranked as the No. 13 overall inside linebacker in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Of course, Denver would not be as loaded talent-wise while shelling out $60 million to Manning without some genius work, as Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Von Miller and Julius Thomas are still on rookie deals, too.
The game would be nothing without interesting matchups. Broncos elite defensive tackle Terrance Knighton will be in charge of stopping Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch, who has three scores in his past two postseason games.
Manning will look to exploit the side of field Sherman does not occupy, which means Thomas and underrated corner Byron Maxwell will have to be at the top of their game.
Consequences of the game are a big factor, too. For instance, Broncos safety Mike Adams says he will walk home in his pads if they win:
"If we win the Super Bowl, I'm going to keep my helmet and pass on and I'm walking home" Broncos safety and NJ native Mike Adams— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 26, 2014
While no Terrell Owens doing crunches in his driveway, Adam's potential hike would still make for an enthralling late-night affair on national television.
Oh, and do not forget that weather may ruin everything. Two powerhouses going at it in the elements is exactly what the NFL needs, and the Seahawks and Broncos will provide it at Super Bowl XLVIII.