SB48: The Dawn of A New Era

Posted by Jack Tumen

Peter Morgan/AP Photo

Well, we’re finally here. The football year always flies by whether your team had a “long season” or not. For the Broncos and Seahawks, it’s been a journey that will end with a colossal clash in the New Jersey Meadowlands. Out of every Super Bowl matchup I can remember in my lifetime, this is the one I’m the most excited for; not just because it pits the league’s best offense against the league’s best defense, but because of the symbolism it holds for the NFL during a major transitional period. This will be the first of two Super Bowl articles as we get ready for Sunday.

One way to look at this game is young vs. old; Seattle had the 4th youngest roster in the league this season (average age of 25.31 years), while Denver had the 5th oldest (26.75.) Now, that may not seem like that much of a difference, but it is; Seattle only has 6 players on its active roster that are age 30 or older, the oldest being punter, Jon Ryan, at 32. Denver, on the other hand, has 14 players that are 30 or older, the oldest being none other than Peyton Manning at 37. If you want to count injured reserve, Denver has 17 total, while Seattle remains at 6. On top of that, Denver has 7 players on its active roster that have 10 or more years of NFL experience, combining for a grand total of 85 years. Meanwhile, Seattle has only one player on its active roster with 10 or more years of NFL experience (Chris Clemons) for a grand total of…10 years.

Depending on how you look at it, one could argue that the Seahawks have an advantage because of their youth, (i.e. faster, higher motors, shorter recovery time) while on the other hand, one could argue that Denver has an advantage because of experience, wisdom and knowledge of the game. When your team is in the Super Bowl, it certainly helps to have players that have played in a Super Bowl before. Seattle has zero players with prior Super Bowl experience and Pete Carroll has never been to the show either. For Denver, they have that advantage with John Fox and his 2003 Panthers, and also at the most important position: quarterback.

AP

The irony of this matchup is that the older team runs a modern, college-style offense while the younger team holds an old-school, smash mouth mentality. But no matter how you slice it, this game is the epitome of old generation vs. new generation. Peyton says he’ll be back next year regardless of Sunday’s outcome, but he’s only got a year or two left beyond that. Russell Wilson comes in as the first quarterback from 2012s “big three” draft class to reach a Super Bowl, just two short years into his career. In that time frame, Wilson has been one of the major catalysts that have helped to transform the game of football as we know it. Not only has his style of play changed the way we think about offense, but he’s also paved the way for shorter quarterbacks to be given real chances to succeed as we step into the age of the dual-threat quarterback.

This is also the first outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl in history. Ever since New York was selected to host this game, everyone’s just been flipping a shit about what the weather’s going to be like. Honestly, WHO CARES?! This is how football is supposed to be played. If the league didn’t want weather to be a factor, the NFL would be a summer sport. The game is played in the fall and winter for an age-old reason; survival of the fittest.

As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, the season wears on. When it’s late November, during the real dog days of the season, that’s when teams choose to lay down and die or make the playoff push. The game is designed so that the best teams adapt to their environments to find a way to win. These are warriors we’re talking about, people. These men go to battle for one another every Sunday for our pure enjoyment while we get to watch it all go down on our comfy couches in our warm and toasty homes. So for everyone who’s so concerned that they might not get to see a flawless, crisp offense go to work in the dead of winter, deal with it; that’s how the game is played.

Helen Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images

This game is even symbolic as it relates to the cultural blueprint of our society. These two teams happen to represent the two states in our union that have legalized recreational marijuana. This is a subject that has not only gained ground in the political world, but also in the NFL world. Over the past week, coaches, players and even commissioner Roger Goodell have addressed the growing idea that would allow players to use medical marijuana to help treat football related injuries. Obviously this would only apply to players that reside in states where it is currently legal, but if it relates to helping players with their football injuries, the league is on board with it, and rightfully so; the medicinal benefits of marijuana are undeniable.

However, this game is decided on the field with pads. For my next post, I’ll be breaking down the matchup even further as I make my pick for Super Bowl 48. Stay tuned.

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