Super Sunday: Stats and storylines for the big game

Denver Broncos face off against the Seattle Seahawks

J.P. O'Hagan, Staff Reporter

The buzz about the Super Bowl XLVIII, which is this Sunday, is enough to light the Empire State Building. Well, that is what Verizon wants you to think as they use a rather clever publicity stunt to track the Twitter responses to the question “#whosgonnawin” and track the results to choose the team colors that will light up New York’s most famous building this week.

This Super Bowl gained notoriety months before it was even known which two teams would play. It is the NFL’s first “cold weather” Super Bowl, taking place at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, just outside of New York City. The newest NFL stadium—until San Francisco’s new Levi’s Stadium opens next season—was chosen to host the first open-air Super Bowl in a cold weather city. Previous Super Bowls held in cold cities were held in indoor stadiums. This presents a few issues for the league, as they must have contingency plans for the nasty weather that can hit the northern U.S. pretty hard.

The weather shouldn’t be much of an issue for the two teams, however, as the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos are both cold weather teams. This is their first meeting since 2002 where the two number one seeds played for the championship. The hype has been building, and some amazing stats have been found about the two teams.

The Seahawks have the best defense in the league, giving up only 231 points this season; the Broncos, however, have the best offense, putting up 606 points. The differential of 375 points is the largest gap ever in a Super Bowl. Additionally, the Broncos’ starting quarterback Peyton Manning has been 0-4 in playoff games when the starting temperature is less than 40 degrees. Manning has to overcome the curse: Of the first three quarterbacks who reached the Super Bowl after leading the league in passing and touchdowns, all of them lost. Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ quarterback, is 12 years younger than Manning.

Back in August, the two teams played in the preseason and the Seahawks won 40-10. The only players who have previously played in a Super Bowl are all members of the Broncos team. The Seahawks will be in their white away jerseys, and nine of the last 10 teams to wear white have won. The funniest thing to come out of the hype this week occurred Tuesday at Media Day, when a journalist asked the Broncos’ Shaun Phillips if he “considers this game a must win?” The answer was an obvious “duh, yes.”

There is more to the Super Bowl than the game. Americans will eat 1.23 billion chicken wings, 11.2 million pounds of potato chips and watch $4 million-a-spot commercials. The halftime show will be Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. While they are, admittedly, a rather odd combination, they’re not too different from LMFAO showing up alongside Madonna two years ago.

Vegas will make $7 million off the $99 million bet on the game. These bets are not just on the outcome of the game (through the Broncos have a slight advantage) but also on dozens of prop bets. Will the singer forget any words of the National Anthem? (It has happened.) Will marijuana be said at any time in the broadcast? (Both of the team’s home states have legalized the drug.) Who will be the MVP? (The odds are in favor of Manning.)
Which song will Bruno Mars sing first? What color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach? Will the coin toss be heads or tails?

As Sunday approaches, it really comes down to two questions: Who is going to win? And is all the excitement enough to melt the snow?