What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
1) What Vegas Thinks
As a retired bookie, J-Dub has always known that professional gamblers pay attention to five key statistics:
There’s a story in these numbers which is easy to miss. What’s hidden by the gaudy offensive numbers the Broncos notch and the similarly dominant performance of the Seahawks defense is that while an argument can be made that these two teams are fairly evenly matched based on how the gaps in their number narrowed in the post-season, and equally convincing argument can be made that this only represented the Broncos being brought back to earth by finally facing better opposition. There’s no real arguing that the NFC was a far superior conference than the AFC (with the exception of the NFC East). All you have to do is compare the schedules of these two teams to see the difference. While the Broncos got here on a diet of milk-fed veal like the aforementioned NFC East and a Patriots team that was out of gas by January, the Seahawks got to face the 49ers three times.
Here’s the number that really tells the story. Seattle only allowed 4 rushing touchdowns the whole season, tied for tops in the league. Denver gave up 15 scores on the ground; of all the play-off teams, only Green Bay allowed more.
2) The On-the-Field Matchups
The Battle of the Trenches:
The Seahawks offensive line is the best front five in the NFL, and the Broncos defense is great in spots, and suspect in others. Head to head matchups will matter little in this case, as the Seahawks front five when healthy and in tune can dominate games by themselves. That’dominance also means much more than opening Wyoming-sized holes for the Skittles Beast, Marshawn Lynch. Not that when Lynch is being spelled by Robert Turbin, he does just fine as another bruiser-style running back. As far as the Seahawks ability to pound the ball down your throat, beyond Lynch and Turbin, they can still throw trucks at at a defense like Michael Robinson, Derrick Coleman, and Christine Michael.
Meanwhile, the Broncos offensive line will fine itself making a choice. They can either establish the running game, or protect Peyton Manning. They will find it hard to do both, because the worst-kept secret in the world in Manning is the key to the Bronco offense. If you look at the numbers above, it wold give on the impression that the Broncos can run the ball effectively when it matters. That is a misleading assumption, because the Broncos actually piled up a lot of those rushing stats late in games when they had a lead and were killing the clock.
The old axiom states that the team which control the line of scrimmage wins. For the Broncos, that axiom becomes an absolute mandate. Forget about everything else. If the Broncos cannot control the trenches, they will not win.
The Battle of the Quarterbacks:
Manning vs. Wilson. Old vs. Young. Well-Established vs. Relatively Inexperienced. “Old-School” Pocket Passer vs. New-School “Scrambler.” For the second year in a row, we get a Super Bowl with a match-up of quarterbacks having completely different styles on the level of Donovan “Runs Around And Still Doesn’t Make Plays” McNabb facing Tom “Can’t Outrun Haloti Ngata” Brady.
But here’s what Manning and Wilson have in common. For all of his “Omaha” audible play-calling bullshit, and for all of Wilson’s running around and “improvisation, ironically neither one of these guys adjusts well when they get knocked off their game plan. When that happens, Manning loves to keep doing the same thing until it finally works again. For Wilson, he reverts to a high-school quarterback who just chuck the ball up for grabs or makes a myriad of other game-killing decisions. Just look at the end of the NFC Championship game; the 49ers finally found a way to get to Wilson, and he tried hard to give the game away.
The Battle of the Non-Over-Rated B.S.:
There’s been so much blather about the New Jersey weather and how it might affect the Super Bow, and almost all of it is bullshit. There’s only tow conditions that really mess with offenses, heavy precipitation of high winds, and tomorrow’s forecast calls for neither. In other words, the weather’s not going to make that big of a difference if all happens according to the forecast. The biggest impact likely to be caused by weather will be on the kicking game and cold temperatures may cool the passing game by a degree or two, but this will not be the “Ice Bowl” everybody’s been fretting about since the idea of a New York/New Jersey Super Bowl. It’s going to be a relatively mild 40 degrees, and both these teams have performed well in worse conditions.
The real story here is that whole overblown crap about “Peyton Manning can’t play in cold weather.” What everybody overlooks about that is that cold weather in the NFL often accompanies the two things that screw up the passing game; the aforementioned precipitation and winds. Not to mention the whole argument is based on a flawed premise: Not only does this whole “can’t play in cold weather thing” rely on a ridiculously small sample, it ignores the fact that all quarterbacks tends to play at a lower level on the road. In Manning’s case, guess how many cold-weather home game he played during his time with the Colts? Exactly zero.
What it all boils down to is this “cold weather” stuff is realistically based on about a ten-game sample over a 14-year career, and the fact that those were mostly road games skews what is already an insufficiently small sample. In other words, the argument that Manning is a “big game” choker is far fairer than this “cold weather” twaddle.
3) A Comparison of the Cities
One these cities is a mile high in the Rockies, the other is a major sea port. While that sounds like a recipe for gargantuan differences, that really isn’t the case. Both of these cities have a reputation for being hip and trendy, which is complete bullshit when you consider that Seattle has one of the highest suicide rates per capita of any U.S. major city, and Denver is a place where Rocky Mountain Oysters are considered a delicacy. In short, both these cities suck, and here’s why.
Let’s start with Seattle. The biggest shitty thing about the “Emerald City” is the weather, which once you get there will explain why people in Seattle have such a proclivity to kill themselves. The worst begins in about mid-September and last all the way around until July. This is when Seattle has essentially the same climate as the Falkland Islands, which means constant, damp overcast and temperatures in the 50s. That’s awesome if you are an Antarctic shore bird or a sheep herder, but normal people will go absolutely bat-shit from this in no time.
The bullshit they will try to tell you is that Seattle gets less rainfall on average per year than most other American cities, but the part they leave out is that while it never really rains hard, it is also never not raining. It’s like living under a cool-mist humidifier; it is an annoying drizzle that can last for what seems like weeks at a time. If you like being out of your house for any length of time, prepare to be constantly wet. To top that off, in the wintertime, even if you ever get to see the sun, its sets at like 3pm. They will try to tell you the summer months are the best, but you have to live through nine months of a suicide-inducing gray miasma.
The weather may be different in Denver than Seattle, but the people who live in both cities are EXACTLY the same. You would be hard-pressed to find a place with more self-absorbed jerk-offs because the culture of both cities has been strangled by yuppie dickweeds who won’t even look up from their Iphones to acknowledge your presence.
The difference with Denver is that every Monday through Friday “Cubicle Cowboy” thinks he can toss on a REI jacket on Saturday and instantly transform into Sir Ernest Shackleton. These outdoor wannabees are easy to spot at any of the two billion strip malls in the greater Denver area, as they are the ones who keep their keys on climbing-grade carabiniers and drive Range Rovers that have never been off a paved road in their entire existence. It’s actually best to get these faux-outdoorsmen into the actual outdoors, as the absence of Lean Cuisine meals and over-priced tapas-style virtually ensures their starvation.
4) The Bottom Line:
This promises to be a close and hard-fought game with things like penalties and turnovers proving the be the difference makers. As a retired bookie, it isn’t my place to tell you on which team to bet your house payment; that’s the joy of simply being a blogger who hurls wise-cracks. There’s no way I can be responsible for your ending up at the plasma center on Monday morning. But if you must place wagers, choose carefully, America. The enjoyment of your Super Bowl Sunday, and keeping your mortgage out of foreclosure is riding on it.