Super Bowl 48, the first to be held in a cold weather venue, will be with two teams that aren’t new to these conditions, with the Denver Broncos coming from the AFC and the Seattle Seahawks from the NFC.
Both were the #1 seeds in their conference, which means this is the first time since the 2009 season (Saints vs Colts) that the two number #1 teams reached the season finale. Peyton Manning was part of that Super Bowl, ending up on the losing side.
The last time the Broncos played against the Seahawks was in the beginning of the 2010 season (they’ll play each other again in 2014), with the Broncos winning 31-14. Both were very different teams. The Broncos finished at 4-12; Kyle Orton was their quarterback. A lot of things have changed since then.
It’ll be the 7th Super Bowl the Broncos play in. They lost the first four they were a part of (1977, 1986, 1987, 1989), but with Mike Shannahan and the fading embers of John Elway’s career they dominated the NFL in the late 1990’s, winning back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1997 and 1998. They’ve been to the playoffs six times since then, including last year, also as the #1 seed, but won a total of two postseason games.
They finished this year on top of the AFC at 13-3 (for a second consecutive season), led by Peyton Manning, setting new records for touchdowns and passing yards in a single season. They lost to the Colts (a team that beat the Seahawks), the Patriots and the Chargers, two teams they later beat in the postseason. They haven’t lost a game by more than one possession.
This is only the second time the Seattle Seahawks are in the Super Bowl. Their previous visit was in the 2005 season, after a 13-3 year in the NFC. They went through the Redskins and the Panthers before facing the Pittsburgh Steelers and some NFL officials, setting them up for a loss.
Since then they’ve been to the postseason four times, each playoffs winning at least one game. This is their third postseason trip with Pete Carroll, with the team progressing from two 7-9 seasons to 11-5 last year and 13-3 this year, their best regular season record since 2005.
While they don’t have a quarterback who puts up extraordinary numbers (3357 passing yards, 26 touchdown passes), they have an excellent running game with Marshawn Lynch (1257 yards, 12 touchdowns) and the best defense in the NFL, led by Richard Sherman who had 8 interceptions during the regular season.