“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov
Football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever. Charlie Riedel/AP
Are you ready for 17 and a half minutes of football???!!!!
That, according to a study by the Media Education Foundation, is how much live football action there was in last year’s Super Bowl. And pretty much what we can expect Sunday when the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49.
But even if actual football is just a sliver of the four-hour NBC broadcast, it’s still a relief finally to be done with the pre-Super Bowl week of hype — which ran the gamut this year from frivolous to ominous.
There was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell trying to move on from the league’s “tough year,” and reporters saying not so fast — a lot of questions are still unanswered.
But today all the talk ends, as attention turns to what football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever.
There’s been no shortage of statistics and scenarios explaining why the Patriots will win their fourth Super Bowl of the 2000s — the team’s first since 2005 — and confirm their dynasty status. There’s just as much fodder for why Seattle will become the ninth team to win back-to-back titles and secure its own dynasty label.
The teams have identical 14-4 records. In general, Seattle’s offense has leaned more on the running of Lynch, whose “Beast Mode” nickname captures his churning, relentless style. New England’s offense relies on the brilliant pocket passing of quarterback Brady.
Still, the Seahawks won a thrilling NFC Championship game thanks to quarterback Russell Wilson’s dazzling throws in overtime; and New England running back LeGarrette Blount was beastly himself in the AFC title game, running for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
The point is, both teams can win throwing and running the ball. Although for each offensive unit, a formidable defense stands in the way.
With the help of a cardboard cutout, the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin took some digs at the NFL during a news conference after the league issued a $100,000 fine to teammate Marshawn Lynch for not speaking to the media. (Nov. 25)
The Seattle Seahawks triumph at the Super Bowl over the Denver Broncos was the most-watched television event in US history, the Fox TV network has said.
The game was a big hit despite its one-sided nature
The Seattle Seahawks triumph at the Super Bowl over the Denver Broncos was the most-watched television event in US history, the Fox TV network has said.
The event drew 111.5 million viewers on Sunday night, it said.
It is the fourth time in five years that a Super Bowl game has set a viewership record, correspondents say.
The half-time show also set a record with 115.3 million viewers watching Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform live.
Those figures beat the 110.8 million delivered by Beyonce last year and the prior record of 114.0 million set by Madonna two years ago.
Initially it was feared that the one-sided nature of the 43-8 Seahawks victory might have drained some suspense from the annual telecast, but the final numbers showed that once again the Super Bowl set a new benchmark for viewing figures.
Experts say that the previous five Super Bowls are now the five most watched TV programmes in US history, eclipsing the long-running record holder for most-watched TV programme – the M*A*S*H finale in 1983 – which now ranks sixth.
Fox said that about 2.3 million people watched its webcast of the game, peaking at the end of the third quarter.
Seattle team crushes the favored Denver Broncos 43-8; takes home Vince Lombardi Trophy
The Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl title Sunday, crushing the favored Denver Broncos 43-8.
Seahawks Linebacker Malcolm Smith returned an interception off Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning 69 yards for a touchdown late in the first half of the game, and wide receiver Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff of the second half 87 yards for another touchdown.
The Seahawks led 36-0 before Denver finally scored on the last play of the third quarter.
Manning was 34 of 49 for 280 yards, but most of that came after Seattle had all but put the game away. He was flustered by Seattle’s fierce defense for most of the first half, throwing two interceptions.
The second fluttered into Smith’s hands after teammate Cliff Avril struck the five-time NFL MVP’s arm as he was releasing the ball.
Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson was coolly efficient for the Seahawks, throwing for two touchdowns.
Euphoria in the Emerald City
In Seattle after the game, fans blared horns and launched fireworks in celebration of the city’s first major sports championship in more than 30 years.
Fire crews extinguished at least one bonfire as rowdy fans were out in force.
In some neighborhoods fans blocked traffic, and downtown a line of cars stretched for blocks as cheers rang out amid a cacophony of horns.
About 30 people watched the game at the Outlander Brewery in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. It was such a blowout that by the fourth quarter, employees had switched one of the three TVs to Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl.”
“We’re all in euphoria right now,” said Steve McVay, a 43-year-old Seattle IT worker. “It’s a huge deal for the city. Since the Sonics we haven’t won anything.” The Seattle SuperSonics beat the Washington Bullets to win the NBA title in 1979 – Seattle’s last major sports championship before Sunday night.
John Caro and his wife, Corina, both 59, whooped their way down Lake City Way in North Seattle, high-fiving passersby.
“I was born here, I was raised here! This is my ultimate dream!” Caro shouted. “We have waited so freakin’ long for this!”
With that, they stepped across the street, with Caro waving his gray Seahawks conference championship hat to stop the traffic.
The frenzy found some bizarre expressions.
A man jumped onto the podium during Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith’s postgame news conference, grabbed the microphone and said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were “perpetrated by people with your own government.”
Smith sat dumbfounded when the man suddenly appeared on his right side.
The man said: “Investigate 9/11 – 9/11 was perpetrated by people with your own government.” He quickly walked away, and security converged on him.
It wasn’t immediately clear if he was taken into custody. Smith then continued taking questions from the media.
‘Mass-transit Super Bowl’
Less exciting than Seattle’s long-awaited win were long delays leaving MetLife Stadium, the game’s venue in New Jersey.
Organizers had dubbed the game the first mass-transit Super Bowl, and spent considerable effort urging fans to take trains or buses to the stadium. The message apparently took hold, as nearly 28,000 rode the rails from nearby Secaucus Junction. That far surpassed New Jersey Transit’s previous record of 22,000 riders in 2009 for a U2 concert, and nearly doubled optimistic pre-game estimates of 15,000.
After Sunday’s game, fans converged on the rail station for the return trip, clogging the platform as trains loaded and left when full.
A spokesman for NJ Transit told The Associated Press early Monday that nearly 25,000 passengers had been moved to Secaucus by midnight, two hours after the game, and that overall it was a “tremendous success,” considering the volume of passengers transported without accident or incident.
When the last train cleared the platform at 12:45 a.m., 32,900 people had been transported by rail and more than 1,100 others taken by bus to Port Authority, a transit spokesman said.
New Jersey State Police urged fans via Twitter to “enjoy the stadium atmosphere until congestion dissipates.”
Seattle natives Jeff Chapman, 40, and his childhood friend Willie Whitmore, 39, were caught up in the delay and anxious to get home.
“This is a joke,” griped Chapman, an engineer. “We’re not even from here and we could’ve told you this would’ve happened.”
“What do you expect when you don’t give people any other option to get home,” said Whitmore, a project manager. “It’s ridiculous.”
Whether you believe it will snow at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday night or Renee Fleming will wear black gloves while singing the national anthem or blue Gatorade will be poured on the winning coach at the conclusion of the game, there’s a bet for that.
As Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncosnears, the proliferation of unusual bets, known as props, available to the betting public has increased. They have brought a different dimension to betting on the game, especially for those whose hunches carry far past the outcome or the point margin.
Proposition bets can be traced back to Super Bowl XX, when, in 1986, the MGM Grand asked bettors whether William “The Refrigerator” Perry would score a touchdown in the game. The Chicago Bears and coach Mike Ditka had been using the 6-foot-2, 335-pound defensive lineman as a lead blocker on occasion during the season, and though he was unsuccessful in his first goal-line appearance in the first quarter against the New England Patriots, he ran 1 yard for a touchdown with 11:38 to play in the third quarter.
The sports book got hammered on the bet, which opened at 40-1 odds but moved to 5-1 before kickoff. The frenzy that resulted from Perry’s touchdown, and the casino’s loss, popularized the offbeat style of betting, which returned the following year and has grown ever since.
The LVH SuperBook has pioneered prop bets over the better part of the past three decades and has crafted more than 350 unique bets for Sunday’s game, including whether a team will score four consecutive times, whether Seahawks wide receiverPercy Harvin will run the ball or whether the jersey number of the first player to score a touchdown in the game is higher or lower than 79.5.
Because of Nevada gambling regulations, Las Vegas sports books aren’t able to take bets on Super Bowl periphery, including wagers tied to halftime performances or remarks by television broadcasters.
That’s where offshore sports books step in. Bovada, an online book licensed through the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in Quebec, has posted more than 500 prop bets for Sunday, allowing people to place bets on things as simple as the temperature at kickoff or which hit single halftime performer Bruno Mars will play first or how many times Archie Manning, the father of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, will be shown on the Fox broadcast.
“Aside from that, what’s getting a lot of attention this year is, being an outdoor venue, we posted, ‘Will it snow during the game?’” said Bovada head oddsmakerPat Morrow, who spoke by telephone this week from the Caribbean island ofAntigua. “That’s been an interesting one for us, because that’s something we’ve really had to pay attention to each day with the long-term weather forecast, and as we get closer to the game, those weather forecasts become more and more accurate, so we’ve been able to raise our limit as we get closer to kickoff on Sunday and the forecasts become a little bit more reliable.”
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Pete Carroll is in support of the NFL looking further into whether medicinal marijuana could be beneficial for players.
The Seattle Seahawks coach said Monday he supports Commissioner Roger Goodell’s message last week that the league could consider medicinal marijuana as a treatment if science proved it could be beneficial for players who have suffered concussions.
Carroll says regardless of the stigmas involved, the medicinal value should be examined, “because the world of medicine is trying to do the exact same thing and figure it out and they’re coming to some conclusions.”
Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Seahawks and Broncos features the two states where recreational marijuana use is legal: Washington and Colorado.
Everyone wants to watch their heroes make incredible plays under pressure, but few can stomach the depths of the emotion required to make those plays. After cornerback Sherman literally single-handedly sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowlby tipping a pass away from San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree in the end zone, he plumbed those depths.
“I’m the best corner in the game,” Sherman screamed at Fox Sports interviewerErin Andrews as a stadium rocked around him in celebration. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like [Michael] Crabtree, that’s the result you’re gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me.”
When Andrews asked who was talking about Sherman, he shouted, “Crabtree!” and then added, “Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick.”
Throughout the country, mouths opened in shock. The reaction on social media was quick and decisive. Sherman was overwhelmingly ripped for being a loudmouth, a bad sport, and even a thug. Criticism mounted further when Sherman called Crabtree “mediocre” during a postgame news conference. He was also nationally ripped for giving the choke sign after the play, a taunt for which he was penalized.
On Monday, Sherman showed remorse for his actions in a text message to ESPN‘s Ed Werder in which he wrote, “I apologize for attacking an individual and taking away from the fantastic game by my teammates … that was not my intention.”
The Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers act like the N.F.L.’s fiercest rivals, which might seem strange for teams that have never met in the playoffs. Stranger still, the tension’s origins trace to five years ago, when both teams were bad and their current coaches led college programs.
At midfield after one meeting of those college teams, the coaches asked each other a question that endures as a perfect volley for the current state of debate.
“What’s your deal?” one shouted.
“What’s your deal?” the other replied.
The Seahawks and the 49ers play for the N.F.C. championship on Sunday, the winner advancing to the Super Bowl. For those in and around Seattle and San Francisco, it is the latest talking point in a long-running debate over superiority.
Seattle and San Francisco are like rain and fog — seemingly different, but mostly made of the same stuff. The cities and the suburbs have been competitors for decades, once battling for supremacy as shipping ports, railroad destinations and jumpoff points for gold seekers, more recently in industry and technology.
In recent years, the biggest rivalry between the sides might have been Microsoft versus Apple.
They argue over their roles in shaping West Coast culture (their denizens might absently dismiss Los Angeles culture as oxymoronic) through music, food and a shared affinity for the outdoors. Last week, a Twitter spat developed between San Francisco’s Bay Bridge and Seattle’s 520 Bridge, neither one its city’s finest.
Now the professional football teams have control of the quarrel, suddenly as heated and relevant as any other rivalry in American sports. It is not in the mold of Packers-Bears or Yankees-Red Sox, born of tradition and bequeathed through heredity. Until a couple of years ago, the rivalry barely existed. Now it has a Facebook page.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s smile sets him apart from San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick.
As the next great quarterback rivalry percolates on the West Coast, Sunday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers represents more than another fight for playoff positioning. It is a clash of public personas between Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
The 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick is often dour and dismissive.
Theirs are the faces of two of the better teams in the N.F.L., and it is not hard to imagine that Wilson versus Kaepernick will become the next generation’s Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning.
Among the methods used to differentiate between the two quarterbacks — from passing statistics to style points, championships to endorsements — is the most obvious difference between them to date: how they address the public when the questions and cameras turn their way.
Wilson is a smooth and polished speaker, eager to please with his effusiveness and politeness. He is “a human Hallmark card,” as the Seattle columnist Art Thiel called him.
Kaepernick behaves like a schoolboy banished to the principal’s office. His microphone is where well-intended questions go to die.
“Stop acting like a jerk,” one San Francisco columnist wrote this season.
Each has Super Bowl expectations, each plays before an adoring crowd of jersey-wearing disciples and each has a growing portfolio of endorsements. Which raises a question: Does it matter whether the face of the franchise wears a smile or a frown?