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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs