Super Bowl XLVIII: Game of the ages - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 9:08 pm
FOOTBALL
Super Bowl XLVIII: Game of the ages
By the numbers
Super Bowl appearances

5: Tom Brady (3-2); John Elway (2-3)

4: Terry Bradshaw (4-0); Joe Montana (4-0); Roger Staubach (2-2); Jim Kelly (0-4)

3: Troy Aikman (3-0); Bob Griese (2-1); Ben Roethlisberger (2-1); Peyton Manning (1-1); Kurt Warner (1-2); Fran Tarkenton (0-3)

2: Bart Starr (2-0); Jim Plunkett (2-0); Eli Manning (2-0); Len Dawson (1-1); Joe Theismann (1-1); Brett Favre (1-1); Craig Morton (0-2)

* * *

71: Highest combined age of quarterbacks in the Super Bowl (Tampa Bay's Brad Johnson, 34, and Oakland's
Rich Gannon, 37, in Super Bowl 37).

56: Quarterbacks who have started a Super Bowl (in 96 opportunities)

29: Quarterbacks who have won the Super Bowl.

12: Largest age differential for
starting quarterbacks (Peyton Manning, 37, and Russell Wilson, 25, this season)

56: Percent of Super Bowls won by quarterbacks picked in the first round of the NFL Draft.

33: Percent of Super Bowls won by a quarterback who was the first overall draft pick.

29.8: Average age of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks (53 percent were under 30).

See the cover

How did we pull off “New York Smack Exchange?” Designer Margaret Riedel cut and pasted. Photographer Rebecca Gratz shot a pic. And then we recycled the paper. A lot of paper.


Click to expand

Our pick

NFL editor John Rodino's Prediction: Broncos 24-20

Championship week: 1-1. Playoffs: 7-3. Regular season: 158-98 (.617).

Peyton Manning has delivered another magical season in a likely Hall of Fame career.

To put a cherry on top, he'll try on Sunday to become the first starting quarterback to win championships with two franchises in the Super Bowl era.

It's been an arduous journey with all of the upheaval in the five-time MVP's life the past three years: The neck surgeries. The switch from Indianapolis, where he won a title after the 2006 season, to Denver in 2012. Last season's crushing playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

But the road gets tougher for No. 18, who threw for a record 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns this season:

» Manning has a so-so playoff history: 11-11 entering this game and the one championship in his 12 previous postseasons. And eight one-and-dones.

» He's struggled in the cold: 4-7 in games that are below freezing at kickoff; it could be that cold sometime Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

» He's facing the Seattle defense, one of the toughest he'll see in his 16-year career.

» And the factor that might trump all the rest: Father Time.

Manning is 37 years old. there have been only five Super Bowls won by passers 35 or older:

» You have to go back to Denver's John Elway, who won after the 1997 and 1998 seasons, to find a quarterback who fits that description. Elway was 38 when he completed his double by leading a victory over Atlanta. He's the oldest champ in the Super Bowl era.

» You can give the decision in Super Bowl V after the 1970 season to one of two graybeards: Johnny Unitas, 37, or Earl Morrall, 36. Unitas started, threw a touchdown pass and was injured in the second quarter of the Baltimore Colts' victory over Dallas. But the Colts trailed at halftime, then rallied behind Morrall.

» Jim Plunkett won two titles, including Super Bowl XVIII at age 36 when the 1983 Los Angeles Raiders defeated Washington.

» Roger Staubach was 35 when he directed the 1977 Cowboys past 34-year-old Craig Morton and Denver in Super Bowl XII.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1032, john.rodino@owh.com

* * *

GAME OF THE AGES

The matchup between Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson is the biggest age differential between starting QBs in Super Bowl history. For goodness sakes, Wilson was 9 years old when Manning was drafted in 1998. But Super Bowl-champion quarterbacks span from young to old, outspoken to reserved and average to legendary. So don't think the difference in years takes away from the chance of this being a game for the ages.

— Cameron Carlow and John Rodino


Click to expand

* * *

STORYLINES TO WATCH

The weather

The Super Bowl has been played before in poor conditions — the downpour of Super Bowl XLI, when Peyton Manning's Colts beat the Bears; the chilly, rainy afternoon at Tulane Stadium in Super Bowl IX — but this game will be played in the flat-cold, winter weather. And since MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., features the occasional swirling winds, conditions should help, ever so slightly, the defenses. Although forecasts currently call for clear skies and 36 degrees at kickoff, it's weather, bound by no NFL commissioner. The better the conditions, the more it favors Denver's precision passing offense. That said, Seattle and Denver know how to play in chilly weather, and prior to the Super Bowl, the NFL championship was often played in poor weather. It's football. These are pros. They'll find a way to adjust.

Hoarders

In the playoffs, Manning flipped Denver's offense from a fast-paced, breakneck bunch to one that could protect its defense by possessing the ball for more plays and more clock time. Seattle's ground game can chew its own share of clock, too. Thus, watch early possessions in the game. If the Seahawks can hold the Broncos to field goals but string together two long touchdown drives together, Denver may be forced into its up-tempo pace without a choice. And it's in that setting — when Manning's not using his running game as an off-speed pitch to the passing game — that Seattle could create turnovers. Should the Seahawks spot the Broncos a good lead — as San Diego and New England did in the AFC playoffs — it puts Russell Wilson in a spot of producing. And Wilson, while growing as a quarterback, firmly remains the underdog as a signal-caller.

Manning and crosstown traffic

The way Manning operates can render blitzes obsolete; the ball's out of his hand so quickly that it doesn't matter whether a defense uses three, four, five or six men to blitz him. But Manning gets the ball out so quick because the Broncos have designed an offense that utilizes quick crossing routes and features “rubs” — wide receivers running routes that narrowly miss each other to cause traffic in coverage — that help guys like Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas get open. The Seahawks may have the game's best corner in Richard Sherman, but the Broncos aren't necessarily going to test Sherman's ability to leap and defend long passes. (If they do, bad idea.) Denver's going to make Sherman and the rest of Seattle's secondary run and run and run and run to keep up with the Broncos' shorter routes. If the Seahawks can do that, Manning's arm strength isn't there to gun the ball to receivers running deep post-corner patterns all night in the cold.

Beast Mode

The Super Bowl has long made heroes out of running backs great and average. Marcus Allen. John Riggins. The Smiths — Emmitt and Timmy. Larry Csonka. Willie Parker. Terrell Davis. Pete Banaszak. Marshawn Lynch — Seattle's big, relentless running back — has a chance to take over this game. Denver's run defense runs hot and cold. The Broncos may be wary of Wilson's play-action game and big arm. So Lynch should get his touches and a chance to bull his way to 100 yards. But against a stacked box, Lynch is one of those special runners who can tear his way through five tacklers and bust off a 60-yard run. Runs like that leave a big psychological scar on a defense.

— Sam McKewon

What goes on in teens’ heads these days? High school slam poets unlock their secrets on stage
Live Well Nebraska: Bellevue man named one of hottest fitness trainers in America
Momaha: A lesson in balance for mom after ballet
Momaha: 10 ways to boost a kid's confidence
Rather than doing $250K in repairs, owner who lives in lot behind 94-year-old house in Dundee razes it
Exercising to prevent falls, injuries
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Geriatrics chat at noon: Get your health questions answered
8 things you need to know about your end-of-life care
New treatment offers a less invasive option to repair bulging aortas
Technology – including Google Glass – gets a try-on at Omaha Infotec conference
New Hastings business helps your personal history live on
Alibaba stake fuels Yahoo stock’s rise
Annie, my husband walked out on me, and now I love his brother
Tips, recipes on how to spice up your traditional Easter ham
Business digest: Big banks might need to hold more capital, Yellen says
18-year-old's fashion-design company wins Maverick Business Plan Competition
In brief: Zebra to spend more than $3 billion on Motorola business
Review: ‘Heaven is for Real’ leaves it to viewer to interpret its story
Union Pacific's ‘Big Boy’ locomotive takes the road back to life
Beals: Boy offers lessons of service, simplicity
Mavs' Schultz shining on diamond as UNO prepares to face Huskers
How to win a $4,300 ‘Walking Dead #1' comic while also doing something nice
Omaha shop's ice cream named one of the best in the U.S.
New deal makes UNO's Blais one of sport’s best-paid coaches
ON TWITTER »

VIDEO »
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Shoreline Golf Club
$40 for 2 Players, 18 Holes of Golf with Cart ($85 Value)
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Blog: Dirk's 'Mad Chatter'
Dirk Chatelain offers his thoughts on the latest news from around the sports world, complete with links to the best articles, opinion columns, YouTube videos and more.
Civic Auditorium Timeline
World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel asked readers for their favorite memories of the Civic Auditorium. We combined their submissions with a few key events or moments in the auditorium's history.
CWS: Banner Years
The College World Series historical database, a growing home for historical information about past NCAA baseball championships, which have been played in Omaha since 1950.
Downtown Omaha event map
Discover the area surrounding the CenturyLink Center, TD Ameritrade Park and downtown Omaha -- including restaurants, arts & entertainment venues, hotels and local retail outlets.
Facebook: Tom Shatel's page
Get Tom Shatel's sports columns delivered straight to your Facebook feed.
Follow Tom Shatel on Twitter
Get instant analysis and commentary from World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel on Twitter.
Nebraska high school basketball's greatest night
Four elite teams. Two buzzer-beaters. One packed house. On March 11, 1989, the stars aligned and produced the best night in Nebraska high school basketball history.
Shatel's blog
Check out the latest from World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel.
Shatel: Tom's Take on 20 Unforgettable Years in Sports
Get World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel's book "Shatel: Tom's Take on 20 Unforgettable Years in Sports."
Super Bowl: Through the years
The Super Bowl is a yearly media madhouse. See how The World-Herald sports section's front pages portrayed each of the Super Bowl victories won by those players celebrated in our Mt. Rushmore of Super Bowl QBs.
Talk sports with World-Herald reporters
World-Herald reporters log on to talk about the latest news surrounding the Huskers, Jays, Mavericks, high schools sports and more. Check out the upcoming chat schedule or replay the latest discussions with the fans.
The disappearance of small-town football
Friday night lights across rural Nebraska are going dark. But one town, in its last season of gridiron independence, proved that school spirit is stronger than ever.
The Nebraska 100
In an historic 2005 series, The World-Herald selected the state’s all-time top 100 athletes. In a new web exclusive, see the digitized collection for the first time.
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »