By Doug Halberstadt
As I correctly predicted in this column last week, the 2014 Super Bowl in New York Feb. 2 will feature the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks against the AFC champion Denver Broncos. It matches up Denver’s No. 1-rated offense against Seattle’s No. 1-rated defense.
It will be the second time in franchise history the Seahawks will be playing for the Lombardi Trophy, and Denver will be making their seventh trip to the big game. Seattle lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-10 in February 2006.
The last time the Broncos played in the Super Bowl (1999), they beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-19. It was the second-straight Super Bowl win for Denver. The year before (January 1998), they defeated the Green Bay Packers 31-24. They lost their four previous appearances in 1978, 1987, 1988 and 1990.
The one thing this year’s Broncos team has in common with the two previous winning Super Bowl teams is a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback calling the signals. In 1998 and 1999, it was John Elway leading the team in the huddle. This year, it’s Peyton Manning directing the Broncos.
Elway retired from playing following the Broncos’ 1999 Super Bowl win. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004, and currently serves as the Broncos’ vice president in charge of football operations.
Manning is coming off a record-setting season. He set records for most touchdown passes (55) in the regular season, and the Broncos’ offense set a record for the most points scored (606). He threw two touchdowns in the Broncos’ victory over the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
The Seahawks will rely on their stingy defense and the arm of quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson threw for 215 yards and one touchdown in the Seahawks’ win over the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
Both teams are used to playing outdoors in the elements. The weather should not have any measurable effect on either team. This game should come down to the leadership abilities of the two quarterbacks. That edge goes to the veteran Manning.
I look for the Broncos to follow the same game plan they did against the Patriots: keep the ball away from the opposing offense and let Manning control the game. That should equate to at least a 10-point margin of victory for Denver. I’ll say Denver 28, Seattle 17.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Jan. 22-28, 2014, issue