Denver? Well, Denver could probably use some work in that department. In an Instagram photo sent out by Elise Pollard, the girlfriend of Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, the dichotomy of support sending off the two Super Bowl participants was apparent:
Of course, we must point out a couple things here. The first being (sic). The second being that Ms. Pollard is dating someone on the Seattle Seahawks and therefore beholden to making that city look as great as possible and their opponent look as poor as possible. It's very likely that, taken in a different location or at a better angle, you could find a more flattering look at how Denver residents sent off their team.
Or you could be snarky and say that Broncos fans were at work or something. And you could make the point that perhaps it's not the best idea to give anyone related to the NFL's highest-scoring offense any reason whatsoever for extra motivation.
That picture encapsulates what has rightfully been called the most rabid fanbase in all of professional sports. The Seahawks already hold the Guinness record for crowd noise, have a 15-1 regular-season record at CenturyLink Field over the last two seasons and have looked like two different football teams home and away at certain points.
Grantland's Bill Barnwell measured that, since 2002, no team has a bigger difference in point differential home and away than Seattle. The Seahawks win by an average of 7.3 points per game at home and lose by an average of 3.3 points when away.
That, of course, might not be the best sign for Sunday. The Broncos might not have the most robust home-field advantage in the world, but that also means they don't have the same home-away variance when it comes to performance. Barnwell's stats noted that Denver ranks only 20th in home-field advantage point differential.
Who will win Super Bowl XLVIII?
Will that come up on Sunday? Who knows. When playing one game with such high variance and teams as closely matched as Denver and Seattle, any one factor could put the other over the edge. Or, with tickets spiking into the thousands of dollars, none of this could matter as the crowd at MetLife Stadium never gets over a semi-cold murmur.
Either way, what's clear is that Tate has to have a stellar game. The Seahawks' leading receiver in the regular season—and apparently big proponent of Google Glass—Tate will come under pressure to perform, especially with Seattle likely having to throw the ball more often than normal to mitigate Denver's run defense.
If Tate has a solid game and the Seahawks win, Pollard will look like a prophet who knew the power of the 12th Man could be carried across the United States. It will also help Tate's cause in hitting free agency this offseason and in his quest to stay in Seattle long-term, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times:
I would really like to stay. It’s a great city, a great group of guys. From top to bottom, I can’t say enough great things about Seattle. The coaching staff is one of a kind. The nutritionist, the trainers, the city, the food, the stadium, everything is just great. I really would like to stay here, but we’ll see. Only time will tell.
If Tate struggles and Seattle loses, it will be interesting to see the reaction. Maybe that photo is viewed as a jinx. Maybe some enterprising Broncos fan will juxtapose the welcome-home party Denver gives the Super Bowl champion Broncos versus the welcome-home party Seattle gives the Super Bowl-losing Seahawks.
It's difficult to say. But the only thing more fervent than a happy, rabid fanbase is an angry, rabid fanbase.
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