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Gaining Super Bowls and Gaping Sinkholes

There seems to a growing trend in the National Football League, and that is if you want your city to host a Super Bowl, simply build a new stadium. On Tuesday the NFL announced that Minneapolis will be the host city for Super Bowl LII, that’s 52 if you’re not the Roman Numerals type.

Granted, the building of a new state of the art stadium does not always guarantee the worlds media descends into your city for a fortnight each year, but it does help. Just recently we have had the big game played in Dallas’ house that Jerry built, and of course the 50th anniversary Super Bowl will be held in Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers.

One thing that maybe swayed the voting away from New Orleans and Indianapolis, who finished second and third respectively in the voting, was the fact that almost half of the $1 billion stadium has been funded by the public, something which the NFL smiles greatly upon and they like to give back to those that give out in the first place. Also the city has plans to upgrade many downtown areas of the city in advance of the season finale in 2018.

Minnesota’s only other occasion hosting the game was back in 1992 when the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-24 in the recently demolished Metrodome.

Away from the bright lights of the NFL and the glory of the Super Bowl comes a tale of small town woe. On the same day that Minnesota were celebrating landing the big one, another big one appeared in Tennessee.

Unfortunately for the good people of Clarksville, and in particular the Austin Peay University Stadium it was in the shape of a 40ft by 40ft sinkhole in the corner of one end zone.

At first construction workers on a $19 million facility facelift discovered a small 5ft by 5ft hole, but when they started digging deeper to find stable bedrock so they could fill it in, the problem escalated.

“As they began digging, it became bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Bill Persinger, spokesman for the 10,000-student university, located about 50 miles northwest of Nashville. Persinger is confident that the hole will be filled and the stadium will be fully operational come the start of the football season in September.

Super Bowl Report: Quotes from the game

The Seattle Seahawks have been crowned Champions after their hugely dominant display on Sunday night in New York. As always, but no different to any other Super Bowl winning team, they had a lot to say about it all afterwards.

“We are the best defence ever,” said Michael Bennett, following the Seahawks’ 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos. “We could have played anybody today and have done the same thing.”

“Our receivers were called pedestrian, and also called appetizers,” Richard Sherman said. “I think if anybody took a bite out of them, they’d be pretty full.”

“I woke up jumping, bouncing,” game MVP Malcolm Smith said when presented with a truck amid the confetti-strewn field after the game. “It turned out great for us tonight.”

“The only way we could say we were the best defence was to take down the best offense,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said.

“We’ve been relentless all season,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Having that mentality of having a championship day every day. At the end of the day, you want to play your best football and that is what we did today.”

“This is an amazing team. Took us four years to get to this point, but they never have taken a step sideways,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “These guys would not take anything but winning this ballgame.”

“It’s all about making history,” All-Pro safety Earl Thomas said. “This was a dominant performance from top to bottom.”

And word from the vanquished…

“We played a great team. We needed to play really well in order to win, and we didn’t come anywhere close to that,” Denver QB Peyton Manning said.

“I can’t really say it out loud, right here, because I get into trouble,” Denver coach John Fox said when asked if the loss tarnishes Manning’s career. “Ludicrous would be proper English.”

Super Bowl Report: Seahawks dominate to win first title

The Seattle Seahawks are waking up today as the new NFL Champions after simply overwhelming the Denver Broncos by the score of 43-8.

It was a game of firsts. The first time a team had scored in the opening minute of each half. The first time that a team had scored a safety, kick-off return, interception return in the same game, and the first Super Bowl win for the Seattle Seahawks.

In a game that was predicted to be close, it was anything but. The number one defence in the league was too much for the number one offence. Add to this a very balance and assured offence the Seahawks had this one in the bag at halftime as they claimed a 22-0 lead. The only question was how many they would win by and could they post a shutout.

A season in which Peyton Manning set all kinds of records, a quick glance at the stat line and you could be forgiven that he did a fine job and led his team to glory. 34 completions, a Super Bowl record, from 49 attempts, 280 yards, with one touchdown. 13 of his completions were to Demaryius Thomas, another record for the big game. It was however the turnovers that were forced from Manning that were to be both shocking and game deciding.

The tone was set on the very first play from scrimmage. Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over Manning’s head, Knowshon Moreno dived on it in the end zone where he was tackled by Cliff Avril ,a man who would be instrumental later, for the opening score.

Seattle got the ball from the kick-off and showed they had poise and boldness as they drove down for a Steven Hauschka 31 yard field goal, Percy Harvin with a big gain on the drive with a 30 yard run on a reverse play. Denver then went three and out, and Seattle added another Hauschka field goal to lead 8-0, this time a 33 yarder after Jermaine Kearse dropped a short pass in the end zone.

Would Seattle live to regret not getting more points on the board as the game went on?

Before the first period was over the Seattle D made its first real stand up moment. There was some hard hitting early in the game, but when they forced a fumble. Moreno losing the handle when gang tackled, they could sense something was about to happen. Avril got a great push up the middle and was right in Manning’s face as he threw. The ball looped a little a Kam Chancellor was on hand to get the interception.

As far as first quarters go it the wasn’t the future Hall of Fame QB’s best fifteen minutes.

After a pass interference call in the back of the Broncos end zone, it was Marshawn Lynch’s moment, he plunged through the line and now the Seahawks were up 15-0 and starting to take control. Backed up to a 3rd and 13 after a tripping penalty, it was that man Avril again making a difference, hitting the now clearly out of sorts QB as he released, the pass sailed into game MVP Malcolm Smith’s arms and he rounded the pack to breeze into the end zone for a 69 yard interception return.

The Seahawks had bullied their way into a 22-0 lead. The Broncos were intimidated into believing the hype surrounding the Seattle D, and were now seeing first hand exactly why they are to be considered amongst the very best in NFL history. There was almost another twist as Trindon Holliday fumbled the ensuing kick-off, Seattle recovered but John Fox the Broncos coach had to challenge as his star return man was clearly down. With the call reversed the half came to a close.

No one saw that 30 minutes of football coming. It was simply stunning.

No sooner had we sat down for the second half kick-off, we were on our collective disbelieving feet aS Harvin ran back an intentionally shorter kick by Matt Prater 87 yards for the game killing touchdown. Any adjustments that were made at half time by Denver were now in tatters as they looked around their sideline at each other in complete bewilderment.

No team in Super Bowl history had overcome a greater deficit than ten points, and yet you still had the thought – at 29-0 down – that if the Broncos were to score quickly they still had a chance, given how explosive their offence had been all year. After an exchange of possessions those thoughts were completely extinguished. Thomas caught a high ball, landed, turned, straight into Byron Maxwell who punched the ball loose and there was Smith, the interception hero from the second quarter to pounce on it. Just a few short plays later Kearse caught a short over the middle pass, somehow stayed upright after being hit by two defenders simultaneously, spun 360 degrees and trotted into the end zone. Denver was shell shocked and their tackling was testament to this.

With the score at 36-0 and the game well and truly out of reach, all that was needed to complete the day for Seattle was for them to pitch a shut out. Thomas on his own record breaking day spoiled that dream when the Broncos finally got on the board, catching a high pass. Denver even had the nerve to convert the two-point try, Wes Welker grabbing the score to end the third quarter.

The fourth period of play was a case of damage limitations, Denver couldn’t quite manage that and Russell Wilson was imperious on the Seahawks last scoring drive of the game. He completed three rapid passes to three different targets, the last of which to Doug Baldwin for a 23 yard score.

The Manning nightmare was complete late in the game as once again he was hit hard, lost the ball, and Clinton McDonald fell on it.

Pete Carroll’s men had executed his philosophy and game plan to the tee. There was no need for trash talking, the team just let their play spell out the only thing that mattered.

Seattle Seahawks – World Champions

Get it White Special – Super Bowl Prediction

Earlier on today Mike gave us his run down on both the Broncos and Seahawks and gave us some thought on what each team needs to do to win the big game in a few hours time.

Now he gives you his final verdict as to who will win and why.

It’s going to be intense out there, and I think it could end up being an extremely tight 60 minutes of football in New Jersey. Surprisingly, the Denver defence could end up being more important to their chances of success than their offense, as stopping Marshawn Lynch is imperative.

Terrance Knighton is a star in the making and if he and the rest of the front seven can have another monster game, his place among the league’s best may well be cemented with a ring. Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense, even against a defence as strong as Seattle’s, should be able to score 20 points, giving his defence a chance to keep up its recent good work. Expect a fairly heavy workload for the two running backs, both on the ground and on screen passes and short, quick routes over the middle: this will be the best way for Manning to shake off some pressure. No, he does not have ‘happy feet’, he’ll just have to get rid of the ball as quickly as possible.

As for the Seahawks, if they play to the best of their ability, I think they can provide the Broncos with their nightmare matchup. A tough pass D with some great pass rush and an offense with a mobile QB and some big play ability: Percy Harvin, if healthy, could provide a huge x-factor in this one. RB Lynch has been Seattle’s best player on offense, and if he can get his wheels churning, it will be difficult for the Broncos to exert any degree of control on the game. The matchup between Richard Sherman and Demayrius Thomas is going to be fun to watch after all of the jawing that’s been going on in the run up to the game, while Bobby Wagner trying to take Julius Thomas’ head off over the middle will be a spectacle too. The Hawks will play violent come Sunday, and it’ll be up to the Broncos’ mental toughness, and of course the tolerance of the refereeing crew, to hold out.

The main thing I’m looking at here is that Seattle won’t change the way they play for Denver, but the Broncos will try to add new wrinkles and new variations to their gameplan to find a way through this wall of a defense. While this isn’t anything particularly new or worrying for Peyton Manning, as someone who is infamous for his meticulous planning and time-consuming tape-watching, it just means that they have less time to master the smaller things in the playbook. It’s going to be tight, make no mistake, but the Seahawks have been working on the same things all year: being tough to beat, opportunistic and intimidating, as if they knew it would come down to this exact matchup: they’ve been designed to win this.


Get it White Special – Super Bowl Preview: Seattle Seahawks

Super Bowl XLVIII Preview

23:30 – MetLife Stadium, New Jersey

Following on from Mike’s thoughts on how the Broncos will fair later today, we bring you his report on the Seahawks.

The ‘Legion of Boom’ are on tour to New Jersey, and they’ve got their eyes on something shiny and football-shaped to take home with them. Richard Sherman and co. aren’t afraid to tell you that they are the best defence in the NFL, capable of shutting down any opponent, but now is their chance to prove that they really are the best. If they can do it, they could well go down as one of the most dominant defensive units to win the Super Bowl, especially if they can limit Peyton Manning to scraps.

There’s nothing new I can tell you about this unit, we all know they’re fast, relentless, aggressive and strong; and the Broncos will have to use each and every one of their weapons to try and pick the complex lock that is the Seattle defence.

It is the Seahawks’ offense that needs to step up and make sure the defence’s efforts aren’t in vain. Russell Wilson has had a good season with some receivers that arguably wouldn’t be starting on other rosters in the league, and although his scrambling is a real threat to any team, he needs to step up his game in the bread and butter of making passes when he needs to. If he can complete 70% of his passes downfield, the Seahawks will have a huge chance as for Seattle, their passing game opens up the ground game and not the other way around.

Most teams know that they have to do everything to stack the box and stop Marshawn Lynch, so in order to give their main man some room in the middle, (not that he really needs any) Wilson has to try and make sure that the defence drops some linebackers into coverage. Lynch has shown that given space, he can grind teams into the dirt, and I have a feeling that double teaming Denver’s colossal DT Terrance Knighton and running through the ‘A gap’ will be a big part of the Seahawks’ game plan: so, as a result, will be Wilson’s ability to keep the secondary and LB’s honest in resecting the pass.

In order to win this, the Hawks have to do what they were built to do: shut down a high-powered offense. This is going to be the ultimate test of what Pete Carroll has tried to do with this programme and it may not be as easy as people think away from their home and many of the 12’s who have done them proud all season. But have no doubt that they will bring the intensity and speed we have seen all year. Russell Wilson has a big opportunity to grab the MVP with a good performance, and that includes being accurate, taking care of the football and using his legs to pick up vital first downs. If Marshawn Lynch runs for 100 yards, it’s likely that Seattle will control the clock and keep the ball away from Manning long enough to outscore the Broncos, so Wilson’s ‘decoy’ part in this game is huge.

Be sure to check back at 4pm today when Mike brings you his final verdict as to who will win the Lombardi Trophy.