Weeding out Super strengths, weaknesses

By: Wally Hall
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014

As of Saturday morning there were several thousand tickets available for Sunday’s Super Bowl and the prices had dropped to around $1,500.

Or in the case of Seattle, the price of five ounces of legal recreational marijuana. In Denver, you would get 3.75 ounces.

You could get one or the other because Washington and Colorado are the only two states to legalize recreational marijuana, and they are the only states with teams in the Super Bowl.

Late-night television, radio talk shows and even some columnists have had a field day about this being the nickle-bag bowl or stoner bowl.

Some guys in Colorado pooled their money, $44, and bought the domain www. They are making a small fortune off T-shirts and hats that have replaced “NFL” with “THC,” the active compound in marijuana.

It is good to laugh. It is good to have fun.

Yet, none of the players from the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos seem to be concerned with anything but winning football’s most prestigious game.

Earlier in the week the weather was the big talk, but now the forecast for East Rutherford, N.J., is for a high of 46 and a low of 26 with winds up to 8 mph.

Meaning it will be much colder at the finish than at kickoff, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

The Broncos are a two-point favorite, mostly because of Peyton Manning, and the over-under line (total number of points scored) is 47.5, which seems low, so expect lots of scoring.

All the news conferences wrap up today. The teams are sequestered in hotels going over the final details of a game that pits the NFL’s No. 1 defense (Seattle yielded an average of 273.6 yards per game during the regular season) against NFL’s No. 1 offense (Denver averaged 457.3 yards per game).

The flip side is the Seahawks ranked No. 17 in offense and the Broncos were 19th in defense.

Over 16 regular-season games, Denver’s average score was 38-25; Seattle outscored its opponents by an average of nearly 12 points (26-14).

Seattle is the second-youngest team to play in a Super Bowl. It has one player on its roster, Ricardo Lockette, who has played in a Super Bowl, and you may never have heard of him and probably won’t see him anywhere but on special teams Sunday.

Lockette was on the San Francisco 49ers roster last year when they lost to the Baltimore Ravens. He has seven catches and one touchdown in his career.

Those numbers prompted the always quotable Richard Sherman to say, “I’ve never seen experience play in a game.”

That is either truly brilliant or makes zero sense. If you are playing the game, you are experiencing the game.

It might have made Manning, Wes Welker and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie smile. Manning, Welker and Rodgers-Cromartie are Broncos starters with Super Bowl experience.

Manning and Welker are appearing in their third Super Bowl and this will be Rodgers-Cromartie’s second.

Denver Coach John Fox, who had heart surgery during the season, coached the Carolina Panthers in the 2004 Super Bowl. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who was the interim head coach during Fox’s surgery and recovery, was the offensive line coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 when they won the Super Bowl.

Experience and offense favor the Broncos. Defense and swagger go to Seattle.

It almost goes without saying that the Seahawks defense must get to Manning, either by pressuring him or getting sacks, to be successful.

Manning was sacked 18 times during the regular season, but in two playoff games he has not been tackled in the pocket with the ball.

All jokes aside, if the weather permits, it should be a great Super Bowl.

Sports, Pages 19 on 01/31/2014