BY KARA STEYN
Glendale, Arizona will play host to thousands of football fans this Sunday, February 1, for Super Bowl XLIX. The Seattle Seahawks will battle the New England Patriots for the NFL’s highest honour. The Seahawks are defending champions, having beat the Broncos last year. However, the Patriots are looking for a post-season comeback as they have been without a Super Bowl victory since 2005. Be sure to mark this one down in the history books, folks.
Both teams have had similar seasons. The Patriots faced a lot of criticism for their lacklustre start, especially quarterback Tom Brady. They fought their way back and became AFC champions (winning 45-7 against the Indianapolis Colts no less). The Seahawks similarly had a slow start, which felt unwarranted after having just won the Super Bowl. They, too, fought their way back to become NFC champions against the Green Bay Packers.
A lot of talk surrounding this year’s game is that it will come down to Seattle’s defence against New England’s offence. While there is merit to this notion, other aspects need to be examined. The Seahawks’ quarterback, Russell Wilson, is 10-0 against Super Bowl winning quarterbacks; he’ll try to make it 11-0 against Brady. The Patriots’ defence includes Vince Wilfork, a five time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, and Darrelle Revis, one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. An offence vs. defence formula is a little too simple for this year’s championship.
It’s interesting to note that this is the first time the Seahawks and Patriots are playing each other in the Super Bowl, which brings the level of competition to a whole other level. Not only is each team playing for the title, they’re playing for bragging rights. Seattle would have won two years in a row, defeating one of the NFL’s greatest teams. New England would have taken down the reigning champions, while breaking a 10-year Super Bowl drought. Plus, their all-time series is tied 8-8, making this the ultimate tiebreaker.
This matchup also has higher stakes “behind the bench.” Bill Belichick replaced Pete Carroll as coach of the Patriots back in 1999. Carroll now coaches the Seahawks. This anomaly has only happened twice in NFL history and in both cases, the replaced coach won the game—in this case, that would be Carroll and the Seahawks.
Another exciting element to this game is “Deflategate.” This is the controversy surrounding the deflated balls that the Patriots used in the AFC championship game against the Colts. The NFL states that footballs need to be inflated with a certain amount of pressure, and it was discovered by the NFL that the balls used by the Patriots during that game seemed to be under-inflated. Just about everyone involved in the Patriots’ organization has denied involvement, but it will definitely be talked about during Sunday’s broadcast.
On the lighter side of football’s biggest game, Katy Perry will be performing during the halftime show, along with an appearance by Lenny Kravitz. Last year’s performance by Bruno Mars was one of the best in the past few years, so she has a tough act to follow. Another anticipated component are the commercials. Super Bowl ads can be more interesting than the game itself (Cindy Crawford drinking Pepsi from 1992 is still talked about). This year’s batch will cost $4.5 million for 30 seconds. That’s $150,000 for one second of airtime. Only in ‘Murica. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Budweiser’s puppy commercial (so cute!) and GoDaddy’s mystery commercial after pulling their original one due to a lot of contention (oddly enough, it was also about a puppy).
Super Bowl XLIX is set up to be a classic; the kind of game people will talk about for a long time to come. Between two great teams vying for victory, suspicion around ball pressure and Kim Kardashian mocking herself in a T-Mobile ad, this will be a football finale to remember.
Featured image from: http://artvallejo.org/events/super-bowl-2015-xlix-party-free-admission/