NFL 

Super Bowl XLIX Preview

There isn’t anything that will distract either the Patriots or the Seahawks from taking care of business on Sunday at Super Bowl XLIX (49 for those who don’t read Roman Numerals).  Not Marshawn Lynch and his, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined” nor “Deflate-gate”.  These teams are focused and they both know what’s on the line this Sunday.  It’s not just the Lombardi Trophy and the title of “World Champion”, but legacies are also on the line.

For New England, Belichik and Brady to get their fourth Super Bowl victory as a coach-quarterback tandem.  Not since Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw has there been a coach and quarterback (starting quarterback) won 4 Super Bowls together. Then there is Seattle:  the “Legion of Boom”  and company are looking to go down as one of the best defenses of all time.  To be able to successfully defend a title would speak volumes.Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 3.24.29 PM

There have been a lot of great defenses that have been at the forefront of anchoring their respective teams to a Super Bowl.  The 2000 Ravens come to mind, but they couldn’t get back to the promised land.  Most notably the ’85 Bears, who the Seahawks defense gets compared to from time to time, couldn’t repeat as champions.  The Seahawks who are brash, confident and good, relish this opportunity and look to capitalize in a “Boom-ing” fashion.

There so many former players that athletes have looked up too when they were kids,  growing up in Pop Warner Leagues and high school. As a quarterback there are certain group that was mentioned more than others.  Dan Marino, John Elway, Brett Farve, Troy Aikman, and Steve Young; all sensational at the position but none more clutch, idealistic and epitomized winner like Joe Montana.  Four Super Bowl starts—four Super Bowl trophies.

Forget the pretty-boy image, forget the model wife, and forget the endorsements; Tom Brady is no choir boy.  This is a guy with a lot of vigor and resolve, with a competitive spirit that you may not know unless you see him on the field.  Tom Brady idolized Montana as a kid, it would mean a great deal to him to capture that elusive fourth Super Bowl win.  It has escaped him the last two times he has been there (both at the hands of the New York Giants).  But it is a burning feeling of incompletion in his gut that is lingering.

Will the Seahawks go seven or eight in the box?  How will  Dan Quinn use Kam Chancellor?  Will he be a blanket on Gronkowski or will he play more rover, covering anything across the middle?

You know what you are going to get from Marshawn Lynch, a bruising truck that will knock over tacklers and go through any arms that are in his path.  So the key to the Patriots defensive front will be gang-tackling.  Forget trying to strip him of the ball because you will be wasting your time, and he will run right through it.  Wrap him up…wrap him up…wrap him up!!!

The Patriots more than anything have to keep Russell Wilson in the pocket.  Force him to be what he is just okay at, which is a pocket quarterback.  Make him have to see over those big, tall linemen that will block his line of sight to his receivers.  Don’t give him any throwing lanes or openings where he can step up and look down the field or scramble, because that is when he is the most dangerous.Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 3.34.12 PM

This will be a game influenced by the defensive backs.  Browner, Revis, and McCourty for New England while Seattle has Sherman, Maxwell, Thomas for Seattle.  Neither quarterback will throw to their receivers vertically on the perimeter.  There will be a lot of slants, digs, hitches and screen passes.  Russell Wilson may test the New England safeties deep with one of his slot receivers but it won’t happen often.

The talk is over.  Time for play is coming.  Talks of, “Are you mad bro?” is in the past.  Patriots’ fans, “the Seahawks are coming, the Seahawks are coming!”  Super Bowl XLIX, who will be champion?  Whose legacy will be stamped?

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