Cream of the Super Bowl crop

This+years%27+Super+Bowl+is+setting+up+to+be+one+of+the+greatest+ever.

MCT

This years' Super Bowl is setting up to be one of the greatest ever.

Brent Atkinson | Evergreen columnist

Seahawks fans across the Pacific Northwest and the nation rejoiced as their beloved boys in blue sealed the NFC Championship victory with an interception from linebacker Malcolm Smith. A defensive play made possible by a Richard Sherman pass deflection that will likely go down as one of the most famous defensive plays in playoff history. 

The NFC Championship was truly a battle of the best as the vast majority would agree that Seattle and San Francisco were the best two teams in the conference.  The same could be said for the Denver and New England matchup, which represented the two best teams in the AFC. A matchup in which just like with the opposing conference, the number one seed prevailed.

The last time the two No. 1 seeded teams met in the Super Bowl was when Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints defeated Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts in 2010.  Before that, the previous meeting of two No. 1 seeds was in 1993 when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills. 

Rarely do two No. 1 seeds meet for the big game, but since 1975 the NFC holds a nine-win two-loss advantage over the AFC with the Raiders being the only AFC franchise that beat an NFC franchise, once as the Oakland Raiders and once as the Los Angeles Raiders. 

Nonetheless, while the NFC team holds a historical advantage, Seattle has a tall hill to climb considering the Seahawks are not only taking on one of the greatest signal-callers of all time in Peyton Manning, but they will also be taking on, statistically, the greatest offense in NFL history as the Broncos set an NFL record for most points scored in a season.  Manning compiled arguably the best statistical season for any quarterback in NFL history. He set NFL single season records in both passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55).

The Seahawks’ defense is no slouch either, and they finished the season as the leader in multiple major statistical categories, including points allowed.  The ‘Legion of Boom’ (L.O.B.) gained recognition last year and captured infamy when it allowed the least number of passing yards than any other secondary by nearly 400 yards. They also lead the NFL in interceptions with 28, compared to the next closest at 23, and their total team turnover differential of 20 more takeaways than giveaways lead the NFL as well.

With arguably the best quarterback in NFL history going up against arguably the best secondary in NFL history, Super Bowl XLVIII is shaping up to be the most interesting championship showdown of all time.

However, Peyton Manning and the L.O.B. aren’t the only reasons this will be the most interesting Super Bowl showdown of all time.  There are a slew of other reasons:

This Super Bowl is the first time two former divisional rivals will clash in the title game.  Some of Seattle’s new followers may not be aware that the Seahawks resided in the AFC West for their first 26 years of existence before a conference realignment following the 2001 season.

The Seahawks will snap a four-game Super Bowl losing streak for the NFC West if they beat the Broncos, since the 2012 San Francisco 49ers, 2008 Arizona Cardinals, 2005 Seahawks, and 2001 St. Louis Rams all lost their championship titles since the turn of the century.

Also, the first two states to legalize marijuana (Washington and Colorado) will have teams play in the Super Bowl.

Both of the matchup’s head coaches, John Fox of Denver and Pete Carroll of Seattle, were former assistant coaches at Iowa State University.

Manning has the opportunity to become the only quarterback in NFL history to win the Super Bowl as a starter for two separate teams.  Another interesting fact regarding Manning is that he will play for that second ring in his little brother Eli Manning’s stomping grounds, the home of the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Finally, the viewers will have the opportunity to watch Manning’s brilliance, Marshawn Lynch’s ferocity, Wes Welker’s craftsmanship, Kam Chancellor’s explosive blows, Demaryius Thomas’ big-play ability, Richard Sherman’s personality, Champ Bailey’s prominence, and Russell Wilson’s composure all wrapped up in the final 60 minutes of football the 2013-2014 season has to offer.

If this doesn’t get football fans excited then they apparently do not enjoy great football, and this all equates to Super Bowl 48 being the most interesting NFL Championship matchup of all time.  Come Feb. 2, we may witness the greatest showdown the NFL football gods have ever offered.