This Sunday, the world will turn it’s attention to the NFL as the defending world champion Seattle Seahawks look to defend their crown, while the New England Patriots look to cement their legacy in football history in Super Bowl XLIX.
The Patriots are playing in their sixth Super Bowl in 15 seasons, second in four years. New England have lost their last two trips to the championship game, however, and have not won a title since the famous “spygate” scandal in 2007 when it was revealed by the league that the Patriots were caught illegally videotaping opposing teams play calling and signals during games. The Patriots are under scrutiny once again this weekend as an NFL investigation discovered that 11 of the Patriots’ 12 footballs used in their conference championship win over the Indianapolis Colts were under-inflated by two pounds per square inch, giving receivers an easier ability to catch passes.
Whether the Patriots have been playing with an inflated advantage or not, they’ve been rolling their opponents all season long, finishing with the top seed in the AFC with a 12-4 record before edging the Baltimore Ravens 35-31 in the divisional round of the playoffs and blowing out the Colts 45-7 in the conference championship to reach the Super Bowl.
According to NFL.com, quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have combined for the winningest quarterback-coach combination in NFL history with a .765 win percentage.
This season, Brady led his team to the fourth highest scoring offense in the league, averaging 29.3 points per game, with tight end Rob Gronkowski hauling in 1,124 yards and seven touchdowns, and receivers Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell each bringing in over 900 yards.
If there was a kryptonite to an offensive powerhouse, it would be the Seattle Seahawks’ league leading defense. The “Legion of Boom” defensive group has found themselves leading the NFL for the second straight season, allowing the least amount of points at 15.9 points per game. Seattle’s defense has brought in 13 interceptions this season, four of which have come from cornerback Richard Sherman.
Defensive end Michael Bennett has racked up seven sacks.
Seattle’s offense has been no slouch this season either, ranked ninth in the NFL averaging 375.8 yards and 24.6 points per game.
Quarterback Russell Wilson earned Seattle their first Super Bowl victory in team history in his second season in the NFL last year, and running back Marshawn Lynch has been a nice commodity this season with the league’s fourth most rushing yards at 1,306.
After downing the Carolina Panthers 31-17 in the divisional round and pulling out a miracle overtime win over the Green Bay Packers, scoring 21 points in the final 5:21 to earn a 28-21 win in the conference championship, the Seahawks have the opportunity with their never-say-die attitude to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did so in 2003-2004.
According to VegasInsider.com, Seattle opened as a one-point favorite to win Super Bowl XLIX after the conference championships, with the line moving to New England as a one-point favorite later in the week.
With a game that is just about as close as it gets on paper, I can’t go against the legacy of Tom Brady and what he has accomplished. Brady will become the first quarterback in NFL history to start in six Super Bowls, and with a win, he can be in a three-way tie with the most Super Bowl wins at four. Brady might have lost his last two Super Bowls, but third time’s the charm for him and the Patriots at trying to bring home their fourth Vince Lombardi trophy, as I see them deflating the Seahawks defense and doing their best to quiet the controversy that has overshadowed this matchup for the ages: Patriots 34, Seahawks 21.