The 12 Yard Line

After a long NFL season, the Super Bowl is finally here. Both of the number one seeds from each conference have made it to the big show in Arizona, and it looks to be a fantastic matchup all across the board. This Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks will be looking for a repeat championship against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.

How the Seahawks Got Here:
The road to a repeat championship is difficult. In fact, no team has done it since the ’03-’04 Patriots. However, the Seahawks looked poised to pull off the feat, as they have lost hardly any players from their number one
ranked defence.

With a dominant win over the Packers in week one, it looked like Seattle would once again be a dominant force. But then suddenly the team found themselves at a mediocre 3-3 record. Percy Harvin was traded away as drama seemed to be all around the locker room due to clashing personalities. Reports even surfaced that some teammates questioned Russell Wilson’s blackness. Nothing seemed to be going right. It seemed like the team had lost its unity.

After a loss to Kansas City brought them to a 6-4 record, things changed. Seattle went on to win the rest of their games, including five against division opponents, to finish with a 12-4 record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

After defeating Carolina in the divisional round, the Seahawks played a game for the ages against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. It looked like the Packers would win, but in the last few minutes Seattle overcame amazing odds for their chance at a second Lombardi trophy.

How the Patriots Got Here:
For the past decade and a half, the New England Patriots have been one of the best teams in the league. In fact, they are the most recent dynasty having won Super Bowls in the ’01, ’03 and ’04 seasons. Since their last Super Bowl victory, the Patriots have made it to two other Super Bowls and lost both to the New York Giants. In 2007, they had a chance at becoming the first 19-0 team in history before falling in the big game.

This year, New England had a fairly slow start with a 2-2 record following a blow-out loss to Kansas City. People even began to question whether Tom Brady was still capable of playing at the hall-of-fame level he’s occupied most of his career.

But then the team got it figured out as they went on to win the next seven games before a close loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Patriots continued their AFC East division supremacy as they finished with a 12-4 record and home field advantage throughout
the playoffs.

The Patriots’ first playoff game was against the Baltimore Ravens, a team that has always played the hard in the playoffs. It ended up being an extremely close game that went all the way to the final play. Then they handily defeated the Indianapolis Colts with a blowout 45-7 victory to earn their spot in the Super Bowl. This will be the sixth Super Bowl that Tom Brady and Bill Belichik have taken part in, an NFL record for a quarterback and coach duo.

Previous Matchup:
The last time these two teams faced off was back in 2012—Russell Wilson’s rookie year. It was this game that truly identified the Seattle Seahawks as a legitimate contender and made Richard Sherman’s name known to the rest of the country when he got in Tom Brady’s face after the game.

Trailing 23-10 in the fourth quarter, Wilson led the Seahawks to a come-from-behind victory with two touchdown drives. An amazing pass to Sidney Rice gave Seattle a 24-23 lead, and they never looked back. Tom Brady was intercepted by both Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman during the game.

OTHER THINGS to CONSIDER:
—Before Bill Belichik was hired as the head coach for New England, the Patriots were coached by Pete Carroll. Several years later, Carroll will get the chance to play his former team in the biggest game of the year.

—Russell Wilson has built up an amazing resume through his first three years in the NFL and already has the chance to get his second Super Bowl ring. But one thing that not many people realize is that Wilson is undefeated against Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. He is a perfect 10-0 combined against Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady.

—The Patriots have once again been accused of cheating with what is being called “DeflateGate”. The Patriots were previously accused of cheating when they allegedly spied on their opponents practices before Super Bowl XXXVI. Their last endeavor included deflating 11 out of 12 footballs so that they had an even higher likelihood of destroying the Colts last week.

Prediction:
Seahawks 24 | Patriots 17