News / USA

Super Bowl Thriller Laced With Weather Anxiety

A football with the Super Bowl XLVIII logo is set on a mound of snow as workers shovel snow off the seating area at MetLife Stadium as crews removed snow ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII following a snow storm, Jan. 22, 2014, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
A football with the Super Bowl XLVIII logo is set on a mound of snow as workers shovel snow off the seating area at MetLife Stadium as crews removed snow ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII following a snow storm, Jan. 22, 2014, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Reuters
— The Super Bowl has all the ingredients for a fascinating thriller with the Denver Broncos boasting the NFL's best attack and the Seattle Seahawks the top defense, but weather worries provide an element of high anxiety.

Peyton Manning, Denver's record-setting quarterback, and trash-talking cornerback Richard Sherman of the Seahawks, are the faces of the teams, and lead the opposing units that could well determine the National Football League championship.

Manning, a four-time NFL most valuable player, broke league records this season for most passing yards and touchdown passes for the top-scoring AFC champion Denver offense.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman walks off the field after football practice, Jan. 24, 2014, in Renton, Washington.Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman walks off the field after football practice, Jan. 24, 2014, in Renton, Washington.
x
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman walks off the field after football practice, Jan. 24, 2014, in Renton, Washington.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman walks off the field after football practice, Jan. 24, 2014, in Renton, Washington.
Sherman led the league with eight interceptions for a hard-hitting secondary nicknamed "Legion of Boom" on an NFC champion defense that gave up the fewest yards and points, and created the most turnovers in the league.

Can second-year quarterback Russell Wilson, directing an attack spearheaded by bruising runner Marshawn Lynch, help Seattle win their first Super Bowl, or will Manning make more history by becoming the first quarterback to start and win Super Bowls with two franchises after a first triumph with the Indianapolis Colts.

The mysteries will be settled on February 2 in East Rutherford, New Jersey in the first Super Bowl staged in the New York City area and first winter-weather, outdoor Super Bowl - weather permitting.

NFL officials gambled when they awarded the Super Bowl to New York/New Jersey, hoping to lure high-rollers to Manhattan for a memorable wintry celebration of football, rather than book the usual warm-weather, party-time destination.

But winter has come early and with frigid authority, leading NFL officials to pore over contingency plans that could shift the game to as early as Friday, as late as Monday or to a different site altogether should severe weather, such as the storm that crippled the area earlier this week, threaten to hit.

"We have contingencies on top of contingencies," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters.

If it is any consolation, oddsmakers have an optimistic view on conditions for the game, expected to draw more than 80,000 people to MetLife Stadium and over 100 million TV viewers.

The over/under for game time temperature is 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 C), according to online oddsmakers Bovada.

Legacy Game

Manning, whose Broncos are slightly favored, has enjoyed a brilliant season at age 37 in his second year in Denver after leaving the Indianapolis Colts following a lost campaign due to career-threatening neck surgeries.

Peyton Manning talks to the media after NFL football practice at the team's training facility in Englewood, Colorado, Jan. 23, 2014.Peyton Manning talks to the media after NFL football practice at the team's training facility in Englewood, Colorado, Jan. 23, 2014.
x
Peyton Manning talks to the media after NFL football practice at the team's training facility in Englewood, Colorado, Jan. 23, 2014.
Peyton Manning talks to the media after NFL football practice at the team's training facility in Englewood, Colorado, Jan. 23, 2014.
Despite a wonderful regular season resume in his NFL career,  Manning has scuffled in the postseason with an 11-11 record and critics questioned how effective he was playing in cold weather.

Manning thumbed his nose at doubters about his ability in the cold after a dominant day in a 51-28 December win over the Tennessee Titans in 15 degrees (minus-9.4 C) on the way to taking the Broncos to their first Super Bowl in 15 years.

"Whoever wrote that narrative can shove that one where the sun don't shine," Manning said after completing 39 of 59 passes for nearly 400 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Denver's brilliant receiving corps includes Pro Bowlers Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas along with Eric Decker and Wes Welker.

One key could be how well his offensive line does against the Seattle front seven, who can ill afford to give Manning time to pick out the open man among his numerous options.

Run First

While Seattle's defensive secondary, that also includes Pro Bowl safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, gets most of the attention, the Seahawks can be productive on offense.

In contrast to Denver, Seattle is a run-first team behind Lynch, whose punishing style supports his nickname "Beast Mode".

Wilson, a Pro Bowl selection for a second year in a row, has functioned as a careful game manager but is capable of making a big play.

A third-round draft pick in 2011, Wilson is undersized as a quarterback at just under 5'11 (1.80 m), but has a strong arm and quick feet that help him elude pass rushers.

He uses his quickness to buy time rather than to scurry up-field, and receivers including Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are adept at sliding into open space to offer him targets.

Against Denver, Seattle may get to unleash seldom used special weapon Percy Harvin, an explosive receiver who has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion in their playoff win over the New Orleans Saints.

Harvin, signed as a free agent from the Vikings, played in only 40 snaps this season due to recovery from hip surgery and then the concussion.

While ticket-buyers, who have shelled out up to $2,600 in face value for an individual ticket and thousands more on secondary markets, NFL officials and media nervously chart weather forecasts, the teams have been preparing for game-time conditions that could become critical.

Slippery weather often helps an offensive team, since receivers know where they are going while defenders must react, but winds that often sweep across New Jersey's Meadowlands swamp area could hamper Manning.

Little Brother

Both teams logged wins this season at MetLife over the New York Giants and both coaches have first-hand experience in stadiums there.

Denver coach John Fox was defensive coordinator for the Giants for five years including a Super Bowl trip in 2001, and Seattle coach Pete Carroll was head man for the New York Jets, who share the same stadium, in 1994.

Two years ago, the Denver quarterback's younger brother Eli Manning, led the Giants to a Super Bowl win in Indianapolis over New England in Peyton Manning's home stadium for his second championship ring.

Now the tables are turned and Eli Manning is doing what he can to help big brother win a second title at his own MetLife home, by rounding up tickets for him and offering inside information on playing in the stadium.

"I'll be happy to give him some tips," Eli told reporters in a conference call on Thursday.

Younger brother might be better placed to give Peyton a 'what not to do list', as Seattle shut out the Giants 23-0 in their December meeting and intercepted Eli Manning five times.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid