Seahawks to face Patriots in Super BowlPosted: Updated:
Tom Brady against ol' pal Richard Sherman and the rest of the best defense in the NFL.
Russell Wilson against Darrelle Revis, former teammate Brandon Browner and whatever schemes Bill Belichick dreams up.
Marshawn Lynch and LeGarrette Blount and their tough-to-tackle running styles.
The occasional well-designed - and well-executed - trick play.
There is a lot to look forward to when Wilson's Seattle Seahawks, the defending champions, take on Brady's New England Patriots, the dominant franchise of the 2000s, in the Super Bowl at Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 1. Seattle can become the first team to win consecutive NFL championships since Brady, Belichick and Co. did it a decade ago.
In nearly a half-century of Super Bowls - this will be the 49th - there's never been this long a stretch without a repeat champion.
On Super Sunday last year, the Seahawks beat Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8.
After Seattle (14-4) and New England (14-4) won their conference title games at home Sunday, some Las Vegas sports books had the Seahawks - heading to the franchise's third Super Bowl - as 1-point favorites, while others made the game a pick 'em.
New England reached its eighth Super Bowl, equaling the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers for most in league history. It's the sixth time in the past 14 years the Patriots have made it this far; they won trophies after the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons.
But they lost in their past two Super Bowl appearances, after the 2007 and 2011 seasons, both times against Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
"It's hard to compare, year to year. I think every situation's different," the 37-year-old Brady said. "We've had a lot of good teams in the past. This one is going to have to win a very important game to kind of leave our legacy."
Here are some things to know about the Super Bowl:
YOU MAD BRO?: The last time these two teams met was in October 2012, when Wilson was a rookie who threw for the go-ahead touchdown with less than 90 seconds left, Sherman was not yet as highly regarded for his cornerback play - or as widely known for his confidence - but intercepted Brady, and Seattle won 24-23. That game was best known for what happened afterward: Sherman's taunting tweet aimed at Brady. Something else to think about: Will Sherman's injured left elbow be OK in two weeks?
SLOW STARTS, FAST FINISHES: Neither of these teams looked all that good early in the season. The Seahawks started 3-3, making preseason talk of a dynasty seem silly; the Patriots began 2-2, and folks were saying Brady was washed up after a 41-14 loss at Kansas City on Sept. 29. So much for any of that. Seattle is now on an eight-game winning streak, including Sunday's stirring 28-22 overtime victory over Green Bay for the NFC championship after trailing 16-0. New England, meanwhile, won 10 of 11 games until dropping its meaningless regular-season finale. "You don't want to judge your team after three or four games into the season," Brady said after beating Indianapolis 45-7 for the AFC title, "and it's important not to ride the roller coaster."
THE QBS: Will Brady win his fourth Lombardi Trophy? Will Wilson win his second? Brady owns all sorts of postseason QB records, including 49 touchdown passes and six trips to the Super Bowl. Wilson, meanwhile, is 10-0 for his career in games against quarterbacks who own at least one ring - but only because he overcame four interceptions and a halftime quarterback rating of zero to rally Seattle in the closing minutes against Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. "I just continue to believe in our guys," said Wilson, who wept after beating Green Bay.
THE COACHES: New England's Belichick owns a record 21 postseason wins. Seattle's Pete Carroll preceded Belichick as New England's coach, then was a national title-winning college coach at Southern California, before returning to the pros. Both come from defensive backgrounds. Neither is afraid to call a trick play. Punter Jon Ryan's touchdown pass on a fake field goal for Seattle's first points Sunday. One of Brady's three TD tosses against the Colts went to left tackle Nate Solder. A week earlier, receiver Julian Edelman threw a 51-yard pass.
LYNCH'S SILENT TREATMENT: Lynch, who ran for 157 yards against the Packers, has been docked $100,000 by the NFL for violating the league's media policy, making a habit of either ignoring reporters entirely or offering one-word answers. Will he show at the annual circus that is Super Bowl media day?
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Vegas Bookies: Seahawks a 1-point early favorite in SB
By TIM DAHLBERG, AP Sports Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The Super Bowl looks like a tossup in this gambling city, where more than $100 million will likely be riding on the game by kickoff.
A flurry of early money on the New England Patriots moved the game to pick `em at most major Las Vegas books Sunday night after the Seattle Seahawks opened by as much as 2.5-point favorites.
Oddsmakers say they don't expect the line to fluctuate much over the next few weeks, with heavy betting anticipated on both sides.
"You're not going to see this one bounce around like you did last year," said Jimmy Vaccaro of the South Point sports book. "Last year the whole world was in love with Denver early and there was a crush at the (betting) window. But this game is going to stay right around Seattle a 1-point favorite or pick `em the entire way."
Some books opened Seattle a favorite while Tom Brady and the Patriots were still piling on points in the rain late in the third quarter of a blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts. The line quickly got knocked down, though, as money came in on New England, including a $10,000 bet at the South Point.
"All smart guys looking to take a position early," Vaccaro said of the early money. "The line really went down quick."
At the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, the opening line favoring the Seahawks by 2.5 points moved quickly even before the Patriots-Colts game was over. Shortly after the game was over, the line was already at pick `em.
"Everyone remembers what they saw last," oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said.
The movement wasn't quite as dramatic as it was last year, when the Seahawks were also favored by 2.5 points at most books in the opening lines only to see the betting public go so heavily on the Broncos that Denver was favored by 2.5 points at game time.
Seattle ended up winning the game 43-8 and bookmakers had a big day, winning nearly $20 million on record legal betting of $119.4 million.
The over/under for the game ranged from between 49 and 49.5 points at most books. Like point spread wagers, bettors can lay $110 to win $100 on whether the total number of points will exceed or be less than that number.
This has been a banner football betting season so far for sports books in Nevada, the only place where full legalized betting is allowed in the country.
Records have been set every month, and Sherman said he believes this year's Super Bowl will set another betting record because the line is narrow and the teams are popular.
"I definitely think it can be a record," he said. "You have the defending Super Bowl champs who are as public a team as anyone. And New England is the same thing, they've been there for years."
For Sherman, setting the lines in the games may have been the easiest part. He and his fellow oddsmakers at the Westgate plan to spend Tuesday and Wednesday putting together more than 300 so-called "prop" bets on everything from which team will win the coin flip to whether one of New England's offensive linemen will score a touchdown.
Wynn sports book director Johnny Avello said he plans to offer a wide variety of props, too, which could help drive a betting record.
"I don't see any reason why it can't be broken," Avello said. "The only thing that would slow it down is that people are tired of the Seahawks and I don't think that will be the case."
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