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

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid