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

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs