The final game of the NFL season is finally here as the Denver Broncos get set to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
While the big game is meant to showcase the two best teams in the NFL, that does not always come to fruition. However, this matchup represents the top seeds in both the AFC and NFC, as well as Denver's No. 1 offense against Seattle's No. 1 defense.
Even more impressive, these teams had the first- and third-best odds to win the Super Bowl before the season started.
This has all of the ingredients to create one of the most memorable title games in recent history, so make sure you do not miss a second of the action.
Who will win?
When: Sunday, Feb. 2
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Mobile: NFL Mobile app
Spread: Denver (-2.5), according to Vegas Insider
What You Need to Know
This game is destined to be the answer to the question of which is better, a great offense or a great defense.
Not only did the Broncos score the most points in the NFL and total the most yards, but the unit was record breaking:
The @Broncos set NFL record for most points in a single season, breaking the mark previously set by the 2007 Patriots— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 29, 2013
Peyton Manning had quite a year himself, setting the record for most passing touchdowns and yards in a season. He also did a great job of spreading the ball around to his teammates:
Denver is the 1st team in NFL HISTORY to have 5 players score 10+ TDs. No other team has ever had more than 3 players do that in a season.— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 31, 2013
Meanwhile, the Seahawks excel at stopping the pass, ranking first in the league in yards allowed, yards per attempt, interceptions and opponent passer rating.
Cornerback Richard Sherman has taken over the headlines this week as the outspoken member of the secondary, but safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are also among the league's best at their respective positions.
Of course, this battle between elite offense and defense is only half of the game. On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks are led by Russell Wilson, whose first two seasons were statistically better than those of Manning himself, according to ESPN the Magazine:
When Wilson is not moving the ball through the air, it will be up to running back Marshawn Lynch, who has rushed for over 100 yards in four of his six career playoff games.
This balance between a strong passing game and a powerful running attack will be a lot for the Broncos defense to handle in what should be an excellent back-and-forth matchup.
There is a bit of a change of pace this year concerning the national anthem. Past years have featured popular recording artists ranging from Diana Ross in 1982 to Billy Joel in 2007. Last year, Alicia Keys belted out her version of the "Star Spangled Banner."
This year, however, opera singer Renee Fleming will start off the game with what is certain to be an interesting rendition of the classic song, especially when considering that the sports betting site Bovada set the over-under for the performance at two minutes and 25 seconds.
Still, the main event for some people will be the Pepsi halftime show starring Bruno Mars. This has become the most-watched musical event of the calendar year, and Billboard's 2013 Artist of the Year seems up to the challenge.
He explained what fans should expect at the show, via Chris Strauss of For The Win:
I ain’t scared if that’s what you think...Spectacle-wise? I don’t do trapeze and all that stuff. I hope to get people dancing and smiling. If you ever come to one of my shows, it’s just us up there. We’ve got these songs and our instruments and I’m hoping that’s enough.
If Bruno Mars is not enough for some people, he will be joined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as Mars himself announced:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band has is likely to have followers from all over the world tune in for the halftime spectacle.
So you do not care about the game nor are you a fan of Bruno Mars? The good news is that there is still plenty for you to enjoy. Commercials aired during Super Bowl often are the best you will see thanks to the fact that companies know their spots will play to the largest television audience of the year.
According to Steve Almasy of CNN, a 30-second spot during the game costs a record $4.5 million.
Fortunately, this amount of money could be worth it for those making a memorable ad. Dannon Oikos provided some nostalgia with a Full House reunion:
Budweiser also tries to melt our hearts with this tale of a puppy and his Clydesdale friend:
The entire event is certain to be full of many more still to be released that will keep fans entertained throughout the game.
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