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Super Bowl XLIX: New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks

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The big game is here. The game to end all games. The game to decide it all for the 2014-2015 season. If you think last year’s game was a doozy (it was). I can promise you this, it won’t be a blowout. Two good teams with good offenses and defenses will square off. Tom Brady playing in his sixth Super Bowl in his storied career will take on Russell Wilson in his second Super Bowl in his short three-year career.

Seattle Seahawks

Record: 12-4
Offense: 14th
Defense: 1st

Coming off the Super Bowl victory the previous season, the Seahawks have embraced the role of defending champion and did not let up the hangover of winning the Super Bowl get to their heads. Winning three of their first 4 games going into a short bye week seemed like a piece of cake to a team that gained victories over the Packers, the Broncos (in an overtime win at home) and the Redskins. The harsh realities of being the defending champs soon became clear after losses to the Cowboys (at home) and against division rival St. Louis. After the losses, their head coach and leader called a team meeting with the captains. Whatever transpired in that meeting, the team took it to heart. The Seahawks would only lose one more game after that in a week 11 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. A 9-1 record after going 3-3 isn’t too shabby either.

Entering into the playoffs as the #1 seed, having home field advantage throughout the postseason, something that no team in the NFC would rather not deal with. In the divisional playoff game, the Seahawks would take on the Carolina Panthers, a team with a 7-8-1 record that won the NFC South, for a part of the game the Panthers hung around but the Seahawsk defense proved to be too much for Cam Newton and the Panthers. The Seahawks won the game 31-17.

The next opponent that the Seahawks would have to go up against would be the Green Bay Packers, whom the Seahawks beat in blowout fashion in the opening night game in week 1. However, the Packers were ready for them and jumped out to a 16-0 lead going into halftime. The team rallied behind their quarterback Russell Wilson who had an awful game, and began to chip away against the Packers. With the score 19-14 late into the 4th quarter, on an onside kick the Seahawks recovered and took their first lead in the game after a 2-point conversion. The Packers quickly answered back with a Mason Crosby field goal, taking the game into overtime. The valiant effort became meaningless as the Seahawks would win the game on a touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse sealing the game 28-22 overcoming a 16 point deficit to go back to the Super Bowl. Something no defending champ has done since the 2004 New England Patriots.

New England Patriots

Record: 12-4
Offense: 4th
Defense: 8th

Super Bowls and playing in them is nothing new to 14-year veteran Tom Brady, who has played in 5 (soon to be 6) of those 14 years of being an NFL quarterback. However the road to Super Bowl XLIX has not been an easy one for Tom Terrific. Having won 3 of his 5 Super Bowl appearances and losing the past two of them to the New York Giants, Brady looks to cement his legacy with his idol growing up in nearby San Francisco, Joe Montana.

Brady’s Patriots looked to be a contender for a title in the preseason, acquiring Darrelle Revis, a player from the rival New York Jets. With a defensive veteran presence and a good offensive core around the team, Brady just might have a shot of getting #4 to his ring collection. The road would prove to be a difficult one starting out.

With an opening day loss to the Miami Dolphins, and a blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and a record of 2-2 entering week 5, talk loomed of change. The media swarmed at the idea of Tom Brady getting traded. With the talk, the Patriots answered back with a blowout win on Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 43-17. Winning their next four games going into the bye week with a record of 7-2. The Patriots would continue the trend with blowout wins against the Indianapolis Colts and the Detroit Lions. The next game proved to be a potential Super Bowl rematch as the Patriots visited Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers would end up winning the game 26-21. After the game Tom Brady wanted another shot against the Packers. Sadly he didn’t get his wish.

The Patriots answered back after the loss with a road win against the Chargers and a revenge game against the Miami Dolphins at home. Then gaining win #12 against the rival New York Jets, sweeping the season series against their rival. However, they would lose the final game of the regular season against the Buffalo Bills 17-9. Finishing a record of 12-4 for the 3rd consecutive year.

Come playoff time, the Patriots would have homefield advantage in the playoffs having the #1 seed. Their opponent in the division playoff game was a team that the Patriots knew all too well, the Baltimore Ravens. With such classic playoff games like the 2012 and 2013 AFC championship games, the Patriots and Ravens in the divisional game didn’t disappoint. Overcoming two 14-point deficits in the game the Patriots would hang around in the game. The Patriots wouldn’t take their first lead in the game until the game winner with 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter with a Brady pass to Brandon LaFell giving the Pats a 35-31 lead which would end up being the final score.

Something quite synonymous in the playoffs is not just close games or blowouts is that two of the games great quarterbacks of the current era had always faced each other, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. However, Manning’s Broncos would not be the Patriots next opponent in the AFC championship game. Instead, the underdog Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis Colts would be the Patriots obstacle towards the promised land. The game was not even close, compared to the NFC championship game that was played before it. Much to what people had expected, the Patriots would rout the Colts by a score of 45-7. However, the team’s celebration proved to be short-lived, deflating like a lost balloon.

Deflategate

In a year full of controversy and disorientation, the NFL has have to deal with another problem entering into the league’s biggest game of the year. The NFL and the New England Patriots know controversy all too well. Such instances like the ‘Tuck Rule’ game, 2007’s Spygate controversy, and now what people are dubbing “Deflategate.” The controversy has been a final nail in the coffin to a potential great franchise that the New England Patriots could’ve had. The take that I have is distraught. Again, the Patriots have been caught doing something that shouldn’t have happened. the franchise is tainted. Their season is tainted. Bill Belichek will never be the greatest coach of all time, period. Tom Brady will never be the greatest quarterback of all time. The league will deal with this controversy harshly (I hope). As long as Belichek and Brady still coach and play, the franchise will never close this chapter in much success and and greater controversy.

The fact is this: the league has video of a ball-handler spending 90 seconds in a room with the footballs. The evidence is there. The Patriots got caught cheating again. Do they deserve to be in the Super Bowl? Certainly to a degree because the Colts didn’t win and just because the footballs were deflated by 1 psi is no excuse to lose. The fact is that Andrew Luck had a bad game. The Colts couldn’t get anything on offense and defense. You got embarrassed.

The Patriots should just admit they made a mistake of getting caught doing something that would be cheating. Sadly, Tom Brady hasn’t admitted it. Nor Bill Belichek. Owner Robert Kraft hasn’t admitted it either.

Certainly the punishment shouldn’t be placed on the franchise until after the Super Bowl. The punishment should hurt the team. Certainly loss of draft picks, reduction of cap space, and hefty fines over a period of 2-3 years would be sufficient. League protocol should be updated on such matters as well. Fines help, but don’t hinder franchises.

The fact that I support other Boston franchises like the Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins doesn’t make this easy either. I hate the Patriots, I hate Tom Brady, I hate Bill Belichek. I hate everything that the Patriots stand by. The Patriots don’t represent anything that Boston sports represent. Hard work, team-play, a sense of community, while playing by the rules. I certainly can’t be the only one that hates the Patriots and loves the Red Sox, Celtics and the Bruins.

The Two Teams

The Patriots and Seahawks have had a history together, of playing close games dating back to the 1970’s. When the Seattle Seahawks were established in 1976, they played in the AFC along with the Patriots, in separate divisions. The all-time record of the two teams has been close with a record of 8-8. Patriots winning 8, Seahawks winning 8. The Patriots lead all-time scoring with 321 points, Seahawks with 295.

The first meeting between the two teams took place in 1977 with a Patriots victory of 31-0. The Seahawks wouldn’t win against the Patriots until 1983 in the KingDome by a score of 24-6. The Patriots would go 3-5 against the Seahawks from 1984-1993. The Seahawks and the Patriots wouldn’t play each other after 1993 until 2004 when the Seahawks would get realigned from AFC to NFC. The first meeting against the Seahawks in 11 years would be a victory for the Patriots who would win the 2008 matchup as well.

In the recent matchup in 2012 it was close. In what would be dubbed the “U Mad Bro?” game where Seattle’s Richard Sherman got into Tom Brady’s face uttering those words in a meme. Certainly the Patriots haven’t forgotten about Sherman or the Seahawks in that game. The Patriots lost 24-23.

The Game + Prediction

The game I feel will be close, unlike last year’s Super Bowl. I did feel that last year’s Super Bowl was supposed to be close. Sadly, I was wrong. Before I go into my prediction and my all-time Super Bowl prediction record here’s some information about the big game:

Game Start:
6:30 Eastern Time
5:30 Central Time
4:30 Mountain Time
3:30 Pacific Time

TV: NBC (18th Super Bowl)
Announcers: Al Michaels (9th Super Bowl), Cris Collinsworth (3rd Super Bowl)

Odds (source: oddshark.com):
Spread: Patriots by -1
Over/Under: 48.5

Referee: Bill Vinovich

Halftime Show: Katy Perry + Lenny Kravitz

Cost of 30-second commercial: $4.5 Million

Stadium: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

The All-Time Record:

Super Bowl XXXII: Packers vs Broncos (lost)
Super Bowl XXXIII: Broncos vs Falcons (won)
Super Bowl XXXIV: Rams vs Titans (won)
Super Bowl XXXV: Ravens vs Giants (lost)
Super Bowl XXXVI: Rams vs Patriots (lost)
Super Bowl XXXVII: Raiders vs Buccaneers (lost)
Super Bowl XXXVIII: Panthers vs Patriots (won)
Super Bowl XXXIX: Patriots vs Eagles (won)
Super Bowl XL: Steelers vs Seahawks (lost)
Super Bowl XLI: Colts vs Bears (won)
Super Bowl XLII: Giants vs Patriots (lost)
Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers vs Cardinals (lost)
Super Bowl XLIV: Saints vs Colts (won)
Super Bowl XLV: Steelers vs Packers (won)
Super Bowl XLVI: Giants vs Patriots (lost)
Super Bowl XLVII: Ravens vs 49ers (lost)
Super Bowl XLVIII: Seahawks vs Broncos (lost)

All-time record: 7-9

Haven’t won my prediction since my Packers beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV so I’m obviously looking for a win in this year’s matchup. My time is due to get a win. The opportunity is there.

At this time I was divided in my choice to who will win the Super Bowl. I hate the Seahawks and I hate the Patriots. I have my reasons to hate the Seahawks, who beat the Packers in the championship game. When I last picked the Patriots to win the Super Bowl they lost to the Giants in XLVI, and I swore to never pick the Patriots again if they went to the Super Bowl again. After over a week to decide on who will win the Super Bowl this year it was a difficult choice based on the overall quality of the two teams.

Will I choose the team that has been the mainstay of the league for the past 14 years in the Patriots and revoke my promise to never pick the Patriots again? Will I choose the team that looks to repeat for the first time since (coincidentally) the Patriots did in 2003 and 2004? Will I choose the team that looks to join the Packers and the Giants respectively in Super Bowl wins with four? Will I choose the young team that looks to become the team of the 2010’s possibly? The choice was difficult but my prediction is this:

New England Patriots 27, Seattle Seahawks 31

Enjoy the game!