Thursday, January 30, 2014
NFL Weekly Predictions: Super Bowl XLVII
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
Seattle vs. Denver (-2½)
The Broncos and Seahawks face off in an intriguing Super Bowl pitting Peyton Manning and Denver's No. 1 offense against the Seattle's top-ranked defense in the NFL's first cold weather Super Bowl. The Broncos eased past the Patriots 26-16 in the AFC Championship Game, powered by 400 yards passing from Manning.
"We'd heard talk of eliminating the PATs," Manning said, "and we made it a reality. And Bill Belichick is bitter. That's probably because Wes Welker took out Aqib Talib. Of course, it didn't help matters that Wes mounted our mascot, Thunder, and rode through town shouting, 'The Patriots are leaving! The Patriots are leaving!'
"I refuse to get into a war of words with the Seahawks and Richard Sherman. There's only one defense against Sherman's chatter, and that's an English teacher. But I really like Sherman's 'Beats By Dre' headphones commercial. That 'Hear What You Want' slogan should sell a lot of headphones, because when Richard's talking, everyone needs a pair.
"I expect the equivalent of a chess match. Sherman, on the other hand, probably expects more of a checkers match. That's the only logical explanation for why he keeps saying 'King Me.'
"But we'll have to be at our best against the Seahawks. They have the league's top-rated pass defense, a fact which supports what most observers conclude — the Seahawks run 'pass interference' better than anyone. But I've got the perfect plan to combat Seattle's 'hands on' approach, and that's with my own 'hand off' approach. Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball may be the keys to our offense. Or will they? Sure, running the ball will be a factor, but running the ball after a catch will be an even bigger factor."
The Seahawks KO'd the 49ers 23-17 to take the NFC Championship in a memorable battle fraught with emotion and momentum swings. Seattle overcame a 10-0 second quarter deficit before taking the lead for good in the fourth quarter, clinching the win on a stellar defensive play by Sherman in the end zone.
"The 49ers are no longer NFC champions," Pete Carroll said. "I can certainly empathize, because I know what it's like to vacate a title. But what an exciting game it was. And I'm sure you saw my gracious post-game exchange with Jim Harbaugh afterwards. I think we've put our past behind us. And by 'past,' I mean me asking Jim 'What's your deal?' and Jim asking some of my players 'Who's your dealer?'
"And speaking of 'dealers,' I totally advocate medicinal marijuana in the NFL. I think it would improve players' health, not to mention encourage impressionable young fans to 'take their medicine.' Player injuries would decline markedly, and there would be a proportionate increase in doctors' note. Additionally, there'd be a great tie-in between Seattle's 'Legion of Boom' and Cypress Hill's 'Temple of Boom.'
"Anyway, I just can't say enough about this team. They're awesome. I don't know what I've paid more: compliments in Seattle, or parents at USC. When all is said and done, I have to let my players express their individuality. I've got to let Richard be Richard. In other words, I've got to let him be a 'Dick.'
"Up and down the roster, on both sides of the ball, this team is solid. We are incredibly well-balanced. On one hand, I've got Sherman, the 'Seattle Super Phonic,' who never shuts up; on the other hand, I've got Marshawn Lynch, who won't speak. Marshawn was fined $50,000 earlier this year by the league for refusing to talk to media. That's not an issue to me. I've paid way more for people's silence."
The festivities kick off with a stirring rendition of the national anthem by opera star Renee Fleming, widely known in New Jersey as "The Soprano." At one point, Fleming hits such a high note that glass ceilings all over the league are shattered. Denver's Knowshon Moreno is so moved by Fleming's voice that he wets himself. Denver head coach John Fox puts his hand over his heart, not necessarily to honor America, but to make sure it's still beating.
The Seahawks win the toss and elect to receive. After the teams trade punts, a Seattle turnover leads to a 21-yard Manning touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, who clearly interferes while outmuscling Sherman for the ball before racing 10 yards to paydirt. Matt Pater later adds a field goal to give the Broncos a 10-0 lead. Fox cameras show John Elway beaming in his luxury suite, but his expression quickly changes when those same cameras show Doug Williams polishing his Super Bowl XXII ring.
The Seahawks bounce back in the second quarter as Lynch steamrolls the Denver defense. Lynch busts in for a one-yard score, and is showered by tons of Skittles, tossed from the brand new Skittles blimp, helmed by a crew of local strippers hired to kick off the candy's new slogan, "Make it Rain(bow)." Steven Hauschka and Prater trade field goals, and it's 13-10 Denver at the half.
At halftime, Bruno Mars takes the field, and the tweener demographic skyrockets only briefly before he's chased from the stage by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and special guest Brandon Marshall. Mars joins Janet Jackson's breast, MIA's middle finger, and Up With People as things we never wanted to see at the Super Bowl.
The RHCPs and Marshall appear clad in only socks covering their genitalia, flame-shooting helmets on their heads, and orange cleats. Roger Goodell is outraged, and later fines the five-some $15,000 for their footwear.
The Chili Peppers dedicate their first tune to Eli Manning and his 34 turnovers, and break into their 1991 smash, "Give it Away." Not ones to forget that other Manning, Peyton, the band rocks MetLife with "Scar Tissue." Then, New Jersey governor Chris Christie gets a shout out with "Under the Bridge," followed by a smoking version of the Eagles' "Life in the Fast Lane."
Almost on cue, the weather takes a turn for the worse as the Chili Peppers begin their 2006 hit, "Snow (Uh Oh)." Next, the Peppers dedicate "Hump De Bump" to Mark Sanchez and the "butt fumble." In the grand finale, the Jets' Antonio Cromartie and his 12 kids join the Chili Peppers as they tear into 2002's "Can't Stop."
The Seahawks force a quick Denver three-and-out to start the second half, then take a 17-13 lead when Wilson finds Golden Tate for a 30-yard strike. Denver strikes back with a Manning TD pass to Julius Thomas, and the Seahawks tie it on a Hauschka field goal. After the Broncos stop the Seahawks in the red zone late in the fourth quarter, another Hauschka kick give Seattle a 23-20 lead.
The Broncos take over with six minutes left in the fourth, and in a New Jersey minute (which is equivalent to five minutes), they're in scoring position. Facing a third-and-12 from the Seattle 16, Manning audibles at the line and checks to "Nantucket," which is a double-pick for Eric Decker, who rolls off a J. Thomas and D. Thomas screen and scores the game-winner.
Denver wins, 27-23.