Monday 2nd February LIVE 10am EDST on Seven and ESPN (encore 6pm ESPN & ESPN2)
Its finally here. The finest spectacle in the NFL has arrived as the season culminates in Super Bowl XLIX, coming live from University of Phoenix stadium on Monday morning.
After providing Australian fans with HD coverage all season on 7Mate, the Seven Network has made the peculiar decision to move Super Bowl coverage to the main SD channel, a move that will no doubt upset many loyal fans. Viewers seeking HD coverage of the Super Bowl will need access to ESPN on Foxtel.
Everything has built up to this final matchup between two great teams with differing talents – New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.
The Patriots enter the game under intense scrutiny after allegations of ball-tampering (most of the balls used by the Pats in their AFC Championship Game were afterwards deemed to have been underinflated) in their win against the Colts. Despite an ongoing investigation in which the NFL has conducted 40 interviews, it does not look like it will jeopardise the Patriots’ opportunity to battle for Football’s most illustrious prize. Bill Belichick, who will strategize the Patriots game plan, is the current longest-serving coach in the league (at the helm for 15 years) and maintains his team’s innocence in face of the allegations.
Concerning matters on the field, Tom Brady is a quarterback who can produce something special, even in the face of adversity. He needs no introduction amongst NFL fans and will have much to say about the outcome once again. Brady will be looking to add to his extraordinary legacy by winning his fourth Super Bowl championship, placing him alongside NFL great Joe Montana.
Despite not earning the same plaudits which high-profile quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning receive, Seahawks’ Russell Wilson has more wins than any other quarterback the past three seasons. Stats will tell you that this does not come close to telling the whole story – ESPN analysts will point you towards figures, percentages and ratings which indicate the Seahawks have emerged victorious despite sub-par performances from their quarterback.
Seattle’s defense has a knack for playing its best when Wilson and their offense are at their worst. The league’s most dominant defensive force has also been boosted by the enigmatic man with most rushing yards in the past three years – Marshawn Lynch. Lynch had six touchdowns in a two-game stretch in November, testament to the destruction he can bring to games, unlike anybody else in the NFL.
The Patriots, however, can brag about allowing only six rushing touchdowns all season – perhaps they are the team best suited to nullifying Lynch’s threat.
The last time they met it was a nail-biter two seasons ago with the Seahawks winning 24-23 and Seattle’s highly lauded defence will need to be at its best to repeat the dose.
Should the Seahawks beat the Patriots, Wilson could become the youngest player in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowls – though there is bona fide evidence to show that no other quarterback has received more help from his teammates. Lucky the supporting cast just happen to be pretty talented. As always, this will be one not to miss… and if you don’t like NFL, get the popcorn ready for the half-time entertainment.