Top 5 storylines heading into Super Bowl XLIX
As we creep forward toward Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona, we can't help but notice the multitude of potential headlines going into the big game.
Media day has provided us with so much ammunition - thanks, Marshawn Lynch - that the next 72 hours will be non-stop guessing, predicting and analyzing.
Over the next three days, expect these to be the top five story lines:
1. What will the PSI level be in Brady's footballs
Deflate-gate has taken up much of the conversation the past two weeks, but that issue seem to come to a stop once Robert Kraft landed in Glendale, Ariz. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have repeatedly denied having any knowledge of the deflated balls from the AFC Championship game win over the Colts, and they've stuck to their guns.
As the NFL continues its investigation into deflate-gate, we wonder how many times the Super Bowl announcing crew will speak of the PSI levels in the footballs used during the big game. I can only imagine numerous referees and NFL personnel double-checking to see if the balls are deflated within regulation, and if it impacts how Brady throws the rock.
2. Carroll's stop in New England set up the Belichick era
Before there was Bill Belichick donned in a Patriots hoodie, it was the young, energetic Pete Carroll. Carroll was tabbed as the Patriots head coach from 1997-99 following Bill Parcells' resignation, leading the team to a 27-21 mark .
Carroll's Patriots won the AFC East in 1997 , but he was fired by Kraft after two subsequent down seasons. Kraft admitted it was one of the hardest decisions he had to make. And in Carroll's stead, Kraft named Belichick the next head coach.
Sorry to remind you of that, Jets fans.
3. Sherman playing at less than 100 percent
Seattle's standout cornerback, Richard Sherman, is the face of the Legion of Boom. But there is serious doubt the All-Pro corner will be at 100 percent come kickoff Sunday night.
Sherman is dealing with torn ligaments in his elbow, but has continued to practice in full leading up to the game. Sherman stated this week that he's improving daily and finished with his treatment. Yet the Patriots seem fully aware Sherman is at not at 100 percent.
Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner, Sherman's former teammate in Seattle, told ESPN he's advising the Pats wideouts to go after Sherman's elbow. He went as far as to tell them to break it.
Well, this matchup is sure to grab the cameramen's attention.
4. Can the Patriots contain dual-threat Wilson?
It's one thing for the Patriots linebackers to narrow in on slowing down Marshawn Lynch, but it's the versatile Russell Wilson that might be the biggest threat to ruin their game. Wilson is the offense's catalyst, providing the spark as both a runner and a passer outside of the pocket that keeps defenses on their toes.
The Patriots have yet to face a quarterback as mobile as Wilson this season. The closest player to Wilson's skill-set would be Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and that's not even a fair comparison. Belichick and his defensive coaches will have their hands full trying to muster up a game plan to keep both Lynch and Wilson under wraps.
5. Which one of these teams will add to their legacies?
For Brady and Belichick, another Lombardi Trophy would mean four in their time together, bookmarking a decade since the head coach and quarterback last won back in 2004. Both are making history by simply being a part of the Super Bowl, again, for a sixth time, though their previous two trips proved otherwise unsuccessful.
Wilson and Carroll are aiming to be the first team since these Patriots to repeat as Super Bowl champs. And with a win, perhaps the conversation will begin about how Seattle has the makings of a dynasty, very much like the one we had a decade ago when Brady was winning almost annually.
Either way, one of these teams seems poised to make history.
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