Well, we’ve reached the end of the 2014 NFL season.  The Super Bowl is, of course, the conclusion of any given football season.  After two weeks of long press conferences, interviews, articles, Vegas odds, etc, we finally get a game to watch.

On Sunday, we’ll see, of course, the Seattle Seahawks defend their title against the New England Patriots, two teams who have been quite dominant for most of the season in their capacities.

The Patriots have once again shown a strong offense during the regular and post season.  They’ve set a record for most points scored in 2007, and were the leaders in scoring in 2011.  Both of those years led to Super Bowl berths (and losses to the Giants each time).  This time, they’ve had a respectable scoring average per game, ranking 4th in the league.  Their scoring hasn’t slowed down in the playoffs so far, but then again it didn’t slow down much in the previous Super Bowl runs either.  However, their opponent has had the top scoring defense.

The Seahawks have either set new highs or started new streaks with their defense.  It is the second year in a row that they’ve been ranked #1 in defensive yards allowed.  Such a feat hasn’t been accomplished since the 1985-86 Chicago Bears.  They also are the first team to return to the Super Bowl following a victory since the 2003-04 Patriots.  I’m sure there’s some statistic somewhere that will be pulled if the Seahawks get a second straight SB victory over the previous team to do such a thing.

Although there hasn’t been much attention paid to this tidbit, still Russell Wilson is only the second African American quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl and he’s close to winning his second.  There was a lot of speculation on whether Donovan McNabb would be the 2nd such athlete when he was in the 2004 season Super Bowl.  Same can kind of be said for the 2012 season’s SB with Colin Kaepernick leading the 49ers.  So I’m somewhat surprised there hasn’t been a national story or two about this bit of history.  Then again, I’m somewhat happy that there hasn’t been a need for such a story and Wilson is his own person, not characterized by his appearance for who he is.

Just about all major media stories have, of course, been surrounding the Patriots and yet another team-wide scandal!  I’m sure you’re well versed in the happenings related to the AFC Championship game, but if you’re not, the NFL discovered 11 of the 12 game balls used by the Patriots in the first half were well deflated.  This gives a lot of benefits to whomever uses the balls, as they’re easier to catch despite the pouring rain that engulfed the contest.  While one may ask why there’s no action being taken against Belicheck and the Patriots, one may also already know the answer:

The Super Bowl is so big that for years the event has been considered an unofficial holiday.  A large majority of the U.S. will be sitting somewhere in front of a television set for 3+ hours watching this game.  The slotting for advertisements is notoriously expensive, with prices costing millions of dollars for 30 seconds of airtime.  Whatever locale is hosting a Super Bowl has to house the thousands of people & media members who will spend a significant amount of time spending money in their area.  Money is flowing so much at this time of year that, guaranteed, you’ll see noticeable changes on Wall Street Monday morning.

Money is also flowing in for football enthusiasts’ local cities and towns.  Everyone is encouraged to prepare for the big game, from getting food to getting a brand new flat screen to watch it.  This is all obvious stuff, of course, that you’re already aware of happening around you.  And, of course, I have purposefully been writing “of course” in this piece a lot.  Why?

Because of course you should know the NFL won’t make decisions on the Patriots until after the big game.  Of course you know that it means the difference in hundreds of millions of dollars if Patriots fans & casual fans can have reasonable doubt for Brady’s team.  Of course we here in Baltimore and out in Indianapolis would have preferred an elimination game between both teams to have one of us in the Super Bowl instead of the Patriots.  Of course we knew the petition for such a game wouldn’t have worked.  Of course we know that #DeflateGate has distracted from a multitude of issues that the NFL personnel would likely have to give answers to during the media interviews.

And, of course there can be serious long term effects in the NFL if the Super Bowl suddenly becomes less watchable.  Who would want to watch a Super Bowl where a known cheating team could very well have been decided the winner before it starts?  Why have favorite teams if they aren’t the chosen few to win Super Bowls in any given year?  Why watch the Bills games or buy season tickets to the Jaguars games if those teams are destined never to win the Super Bowl unless they’re allowed to cheat very hard?  What use is watching networks like ESPN when the sports highlights they show seem manufactured and not authentic?

The Super Bowl matchup between the Patriots and Seahawks must happen since they both did win their respective championship games.  There’s no guarantee the Patriots would have lost if all of their balls were properly inflated.  There’s no guarantee the Patriots would have lost to the Ravens if they didn’t use four-offensive linemen formations with a hurry up offense.  So as far as we’re concerned, they did win the AFC Championship and have earned a Super Bowl entry.

For Sunday’s game (6:30pm NBC), there are three things I’m considering: 1) I want the Seahawks to win. 2) I have a good feeling the Seahawks will win. 3) The NFL will benefit the best if the Seahawks do win, as then the public won’t be as concerned over the “Deflate Gate” debacle.  They can issue a penalty to New England with far less watchful eyes from the mainstream media if that happens.

Of course, just because I’m going to root for the Seahawks in this game doesn’t mean you have to.  Enjoy the game for what it is, the Super Bowl – generally the most exciting and one of the top games played of the whole NFL season.  Just relax, be with friends, family, strangers at a bar, whomever you wish.

Enjoy the game and best of luck to the Ravens next year!

-CW

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