The game has yet to be played, but all signs point toward Super Bowl XLVIII being one of the best championship clashes in recent memory. With the Seattle Seahawks' No. 1 defense going up against the Denver Broncos' No. 1 offense, it would be unwise to miss a single second of the action.
Football fans across the United States and the world, for that matter, will be locked in on Fox starting at 6:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 2. There are so many intriguing storylines and matchups within the game itself that even non-football fans figure to enter Super Bowl Sunday with an opinion and even a rooting interest.
With the biggest game of the NFL season on the horizon, here is all the information you need to know in order to tune in, as well as a look at some potential Super Bowl XLVIII MVP candidates.
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
Potential MVP Candidates
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is already considered to be one of the greatest players in NFL history, but in order to truly cement his legacy, another Super Bowl victory is a must. He already has one ring to his credit, but the truly elite players win multiple titles.
Despite Manning's excellence over the years, the knock on him has always been an inability to get the job done in the playoffs. He has silenced many critics during the 2014 playoffs, though, and he can remove all doubt when it comes to his credentials if he wins on Feb. 2.
If the Broncos win the Super Bowl, it's hard to imagine anyone other than Manning coming away with MVP honors. Denver boasts plenty of star players on both sides of the ball, but Manning is the straw that stirs the drink. Everything runs through him, and the Broncos will live or die behind his arm.
Manning knows a thing or two about being valuable. He has won the Super Bowl MVP Award before, will almost certainly win the NFL MVP Award this year and has four regular-season MVP Awards to his credit already, according to NFL on ESPN:
Peyton Manning is the only player in NFL history to win 4 MVP awards.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 26, 2014
The quarterback will face his toughest challenge of the season when he goes up against the Seahawks' top-ranked pass defense. With Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and so many other talented players in Seattle's defensive backfield, nothing will come easily. Manning is determined to win his second Super Bowl, though, and he is the unquestioned favorite to win the MVP Award as well.
It's difficult for anyone to get attention when he goes up against Manning, so it should come as no surprise that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson enters Super Bowl XLVIII under the radar. That certainly wasn't the case when Wilson burst onto the scene as a third-round rookie in 2012, but he simply hasn't fit into the media's Super Bowl narrative thus far. Perhaps that is a good thing for Wilson since much of the pressure will rest on Manning as well as the Seahawks defense.
With that said, he has done some incredible things in his first two NFL seasons, and he could very well play a leading role in a Seattle Super Bowl triumph.
Wilson is often asked by Pete Carroll to play a conservative brand of football due to the Seahawks' dominant defense and the play of running back Marshawn Lynch. But that doesn't mean that he is incapable of making big plays. In fact, Mike Shumann of ABC7 News in San Francisco views him as a potential MVP candidate:
I think the X factor in SB48 will be Russell Wilson. Not Manning-Sherman-Lynch. How will the 1st timer hold up. He seems relaxed. Game MVP?— Mike Shumann (@MikeShumann) January 31, 2014
Since quarterbacks tend to win the MVP Award in the event that their team wins the Super Bowl, Wilson is an obvious possibility. Even if he doesn't put up monster numbers, he'll receive heavy consideration provided Seattle hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The fact that he is a dual threat with his arms and legs could make for plenty of headaches among Broncos defenders, and it could net him some additional hardware too.
Who will win the Super Bowl XLVIII Award?
If Manning isn't the most talked-about player ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII, then Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman most certainly is. Even those who don't know a thing about football have probably seen his post-NFC Championship Game rant by now, and it has led to a wide spectrum of opinions. Some people love Sherman's confidence, while others are appalled by his cockiness.
Whatever the case, he is unquestionably one of the best defensive backs and defensive players in general in the entire NFL.
That will be put to the test when Sherman goes up against arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history. He will also have his hands full with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, whose combination of size and speed is something special.
Not surprisingly, Sherman has had plenty to say leading up to the big game, and he has stood by previous comments that Manning tends to throw "ducks" at times, according to Peter Schrager and Mike Garafolo of FoxSports.com:
I still feel the same way I felt. He's a great quarterback. He does a great job. But at the same time, when he catches the ball, he doesn't necessarily catch the laces all the time. But he throws an accurate ball, regardless of how he catches it, how he gets it — he delivers it on time and accurately.
If Sherman is able to get his hands on one of those so-called "ducks" and intercept it and the Seahawks go on win, he will definitely be in the MVP mix. If nothing else, people would love to see his acceptance speech after the game since he could potentially make his NFC Championship Game comments look like child's play.
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