This isn’t the first time “The Simpsons” predicted the future, of course. There is, after all, a “Land of Chocolate” in Shanghai. In 1993, the show depicted a tiger attack on Siegfried and Roy, 10 years before it actually happened. Heck, Kearney and Dolph alluded to frustrations with Apple’s Siri way back in 1994.
Even the score, 19-14, doesn’t seem that outlandish. Seeing as Sunday’s Super Bowl will pit the NFL’s No. 1 offense in the Denver Broncos vs. the No. 1 defense in the Seattle Seahawks, it’s likely best to expect a game that won’t get out of control on the scoreboard.
From the perspective of a Patriots fan, there’s not only the Wes Welker-Pete Carroll factor, but this game will be much like watching last year’s Super Bowl between the Ravens and 49ers, knowing your team could have been there. It’ll probably be more like the 2006 Super Bowl, watching Peyton Manning go after the glory after getting over the hump that is Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Both were somewhat forgettable games in the grand scheme of the fascinating contests we’ve become accustomed to over the past 15 years or so. But Sunday has the feel of being an entertaining affair, even if it doesn’t snow in the Meadowlands.
I assume most Pats fans will be rooting for Seattle, loathe to see Manning get one ring closer to Brady after the latter dominated the former for so long. There’s probably some Welker bad blood as well, following in line with Belichick’s dislike for the player who only gave his all for the Patriots in his six years here.
Maybe a Broncos victory will spur the Patriots though, much like it did the last time Manning won a Super Bowl with the Colts. An angry Belichick is a vindictive Belichick.
Last time it was Randy Moss and Welker. This time, maybe it is indeed Larry Fitzgerald. That’s why Patriots fans should be tossing their weight toward Denver. Retribution is always better served on a mission to prove one’s hierarchy. And Brady and the Patriots are running out of time.
Adam Kaufman, Boston.com: Seahawks 27, Broncos 24. “Patriots fans don’t want to see Manning and his surgically repaired neck win a legacy game and place himself back in a historical discussion with Tom Brady. Patriots fans are generally unsure of how to react to the possibility of Wes Welker winning a championship after six years of loyalty, and one catastrophic hit on a former teammate. Patriots fans of a generation ago are still upset with Pete Carroll for holding the organization in limbo for a few years. And Patriots fans, like many in the NFL, don’t care for Sherman. If he wins, would you be mad, bro?”
Globe staff: Three out of five pick Seattle (Denver by two).
ESPN.com staff: Nine out of 12 pick the Broncos.
Sports Illustrated staff: Six staff writers split the picks.
CBS Sports.com staff: Eight staff writers split the picks.
Bill Barnwell, Grantland: Seahawks 27, Broncos 16. “Seattle was a better team than Denver during the regular season by DVOA, Simple Rating System, and Advanced NFL Stats’ Team Efficiency metric. The Seahawks are unquestionably healthier than the Broncos right now. And while Denver’s offense is probably slightly better than Seattle’s defense, Seattle’s advantage when it has the football is far superior. Before the season, I picked Seattle to beat Denver in the Super Bowl. It seems wrong to go against that now. “
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Broncos 24, Seahawks 20. “But the real question is simply this: How much do you trust Peyton Manning? How much do you believe in him? Him against maybe the best defense he has ever faced. Him against the bitter cold. Him against the pressure of the stage and all the “legacy” talk. And the answer is, I trust him. Forgot to last week, but I’m a fast learner. It is Peyton’s time. His year. His season. His Sunday.”
Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Broncos 27, Seahawks 24.
Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk.com: Seahawks 23, Broncos 20. “There’s also the nagging feeling I have that Russell Wilson isn’t ready to have a huge game on a huge stage. Wilson is one of the brightest young players in the NFL, but he still has moments when he tries to do too much with his feet, and moments when he fails to make the throws the Seahawks need him to make. He hasn’t been great in the playoffs, and I’m not convinced he’s going to be great in the Super Bowl, either.
And yet I’m picking Seattle, basically for two reasons. The first is that if there’s ever been a defense that’s perfectly constructed to stop what Denver does on offense, it’s this Seattle defense. The Seahawks’ secondary is so good that even with Peyton Manning and all the Broncos’ weapons, I think Denver will struggle to sustain long drives. The second reason is that Seattle is a lot better than Denver on special teams. This feels like the kind of close game that could turn on a few big plays in the kicking game, and I expect Seattle to make those plays.
So in the end, I’m looking at a close, hard-fought game that the Seahawks find a way to win.”
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: Seahawks 24, Broncos 20. “Yes, there’s a chance the Seahawks aren’t properly preparing to face Manning, with portions of the first-team defensive reps used not against a scout team but against the Seattle starting offense — and with defensive players not spending every waking moment in the days preceding the ultimate final exam cramming for it by trying to crack the code of Peyton’s pre-snap histrionics.
There’s an even better chance they’re already good enough to do enough to give the Seattle offense enough of a chance to outscore Peyton.
Ultimately, that’s the only stat that ever matters. And in Super Bowl XLVIII, Seattle wins by scoring half that many points — 24 — and by holding Peyton and company to four fewer than that.”
Eli the Orangutang: Seahwaks.
Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News: Seahawks 27, Broncos 24. “A quarterback will turn in a winning MVP performance in Super Bowl XLVIII; it just won’t be Manning. While he’s looking for the storybook ending to a great comeback and record-breaking season, Wilson, after some support from Seattle’s defense, will raise the Lombardi Trophy. Just like we said in August.”
Katherine Webb, Apple of Brent Musburger’s eye: Broncos 28, Seahawks 24. “It will be a great game to watch as both teams are extremely talented! However, from learning football this year, I feel like Peyton Manning is going to be hard to beat with him getting this close to another Super Bowl win.”
It says here: Broncos 19, Seahawks 14. What, like we’re going to argue with Matt Groening?