By Parker Moore
2 talented teams, 2 record-setting seasons. 2 great leaders. 1 Champion.
Super Bowl XLVIII (48) will go down as a matchup between two high-caliber teams led by fired up quarterbacks. Despite their age differences, the two quarterbacks, Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning, demonstrate the classic old-school demeanor of sportsmanship and leadership that have been crucial to each teams’ success up to this point.
For Peyton Manning, a Super Bowl victory would be the perfect finishing touch to an NFL-best, record-setting season. Another ring would also help validate Manning’s position as one of the best quarterbacks of all time next to Joe Montana, John Elway, Dan Marino, and others.
At 37 years old, Manning is by far the oldest quarterback compared to the average QB of 29 years. Some argue that after a Super Bowl win, what more could he possibly accomplish? Manning has been to more Pro-Bowls than you can count on both hands, thrown for over 54,000 career passing yards, and scored more than 400 touchdowns. In addition, Manning has been to two Super Bowls (winning one of them), and has won a Super Bowl MVP Award. If Peyton wins, why else would he stay around and risk injury and therefore end his career on anything but his own terms? What else does he have to gain besides more money and records?
For Russell Wilson, a championship would disprove those who criticized his physical stature, doubting he would ever make it because he was too short. In addition, it would solidify his position as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, and also open new QB opportunities on other teams. A Super Bowl championship would prove that despite his inexperience, Wilson is capable of leading a young squad to victory against more experienced teams. Russell Wilson has everything to gain; in only his two years in the pros, he has risen from third string to Super Bowl starter.
Next Sunday’s matchup will not disappoint. The league’s best cornerbacks (yes, we mean you, Richard Sherman) will face the undeniably best QB, Peyton Manning, who is known for picking apart defenses. While the Seahawks need to focus on shutting down the pass game, the Broncos need to focus on both the run and air attack. Both Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson are deadly when given the opportunity to strike, so the Broncos must take care of both styles of offense. Given that the Seahawks 12th man won’t be present for the Super Bowl, the Seahawks will lose a valuable advantage; but, then again, the Broncos will lose the support of their home crowd too, therefore leveling the playing field.
Next Sunday will be the end for two great teams who have both had amazing seasons. However, only one can be crowned a champion.