Published: January 31, 2014
Home state football hero?
1 The NFL runs on two entities: TV and gambling. Las Vegas lost the house when Baltimore upset San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII. But the house won back 90 percent of its losses thanks to prop bets, said Pat Morrow, the head oddsmaker for Bovada.lv. Prop bets can include anything from the length of the national anthem, Peyton Manning's Gatorade color or the number of times Manning shouts "Omaha." Here's a goofy one: Will Knowhon Moreno cry during the national anthem? Odds are 4:1 he will. "I'm so blessed to play this game, sometimes it just comes out that way," said Moreno, a New Jersey native. Manning is the top candidate to win Super Bowl MVP, according to Vegas. In the past seven Super Bowls, six of the MVPs were quarterbacks. That includes Manning in 2007. There hasn't been a Super Bowl MVP running back since - you guessed it - Terrell Davis in 1998. TD won MVP while playing through migraines. "When you leave the game like that, you feel like you're letting your team down," Davis said in a recent conversation. TD never let his team down. Moreno this season has been a rock at running back. With wintry elements certainly a factor at MetLife Stadium, Moreno is capable of a historic night.
The 'other' Super Bowl
2 In the Broncos' Super Bowl history, doesn't it seem Super Bowl XXXIII is the forgotten Super Bowl? It was their sixth Super Bowl, their second of back-to-back Super Bowl wins, the Super Bowl after John Elway's helicopter run in Super Bowl XXXII. The 31-24 upset of the Packers remains the conversation starter; the 34-19 rout of the Falcons seems blotted out. Why is that? Denver's second Super Bowl title remains far more impressive than the first one. While the 1997 Broncos slid into the playoffs as a wild-card entrant, the '98 Broncos won 14 straight games and the AFC West by six full games. (Incidentally, their final regular-season opponent: Seattle.) The parallels between the 2013 Broncos and the '97 Broncos are clear: devastating loss in the previous playoffs and a mantra of Super Bowl or Bust. But these Broncos were more dominant than any team in franchise history. The '98 Broncos set the bar with a margin of victory of 12 points; these Broncos had a margin of victory of 13 points. At the time, it seemed unlikely Denver would have an NFL team more dominant than the one that won 14 straight and cruised through the playoffs with three double-digit wins. With a win Sunday, this one's better.
Cleveland with better music
3 When fly fishing for salmon on the beaches of Seattle, here's a worthy stop: Picnic Point. It's relatively hidden, a few miles north of the city center, sans the weekend crush of Lincoln or Carkeek parks. Truth is, Seattle's got it good. It even has us beat in one aspect: mountains - and an ocean. But as a former Washington resident, I can attest the weather truly stinks. So do the sports teams. Seattle is Cleveland with better music. The championship drought stands at 35 years. In a city where it rains all the time, this drought is quite a conundrum. It's a city where Alex Rodriguez leaves a 116-win Mariners team, David Ortiz leaves in a trade and becomes a star, and the Sonics leave for Oklahoma City. (Talk about a demotion). Shoot, it's a city with a street named after a designated hitter (Edgar Martinez Drive). These aren't good things, although Pete Carroll's Seahawks have developed into a very good thing. In the locker room after the Broncos played the 'Hawks in August, wide receiver Eric Decker told me CenturyLink Field was "the loudest place I've ever played." And that was for a preseason game. On the opposite coast, the Seahawks can give their city a reason to forget Brian Bosworth: its first world championship since the Sonics in 1979. If not, it's another Seattle failure against Denver. Dikembe Mutombo, anyone?