By Melanie Bethune, January 29 2015 —
Inflate your footballs everyone, the Superbowl is here.
The Internet has been in an uproar lately over allegations that the New England Patriots deflated the footballs used in their victory over the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC Championship. Dubbed everything from “deflate-gate” to “ballghazi,” the scandal has been blown to epic proportions.
The investigation will take weeks, but there’s is still football to be played.
Superbowl XLIX will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 1 between the Patriots and the defending champions, the Seattle Seahawks.
While the matchup is advertised as a battle between New England’s stellar offence and Seattle’s pounding legion-of-boom defence, both teams are coming into the game ready to dominate on both sides of the ball.
New England hasn’t won a Superbowl in 10 years. Only two players remain from their last championship team, including quarterback Tom Brady. Despite a fresh roster, the team still has an air of legacy about them. It probably doesn’t hurt that they’ve been one of the top two seeds in the AFC for five years running.
Brady and Belichick are legendary by now, and they’ve surrounded themselves with spectacular talent. Rob Gronkowski is easily the best tight end in football. The Patriots also have a unique backfield, headed by the beast-like LeGarrette Blount. Couple that with Brady’s passing attack and danger is in store whenever they’re on the field.
When the Patriots offence comes up against Seattle’s defence, all eyes will be on Seattle safety Kam Chancellor’s coverage of Gronkowski. Seattle’s defence has a minor crack when it comes to tight ends. They allowed 11 touchdowns during the regular season, tied for the third most in the league. After Chancellor’s spectacular interception versus Carolina in the divisional round, everyone is anticipating how he deals with Gronk.
But Seattle’s offence can hardly be shrugged aside. Quarterback Russell Wilson and runningback Marshawn Lynch represent a unique dual threat on the ground. Add in Wilson’s passing attack and the Patriots defence will have to be careful not to open a lane to either runner. Both are capable of breakaway plays, and Wilson is creative and mobile enough to escape in third-down and big-yardage situations. Expect some creative play calls from the New England sideline as they work to stifle Seattle’s offence.
Seattle wants to become the first repeat Superbowl champions since the 2003–04 New England Patriots. Meanwhile, New England is looking to regain the title that defined them for nearly a decade. It’s a battle of two dynasties, old versus new.
It’s going to be a tight matchup, but my money’s on Seattle stealing this one with their dominant defence and Wilson’s improvisation. Tune in on Feb. 1 — not just to see the halftime show and commercials — to watch the two best teams in the league duke it out for the right to leave the season as champions.