Here is a link to my Tuesday column predicting a Broncos’ win in the Super Bowl. Please don’t bet money on my prediction as I’m usually wrong. The full text appears below:
Football is defunct.
Football expired around here Jan. 19 when Richard Sherman tipped a bad Colin Kaepernick pass to Malcolm Smith, and the Seahawks beat the 49ers 23-17 in the NFC championship game, the Seahawks going to that cold-weather carnival in New Jersey, the 49ers going home.
But one matter looms before we pack up the season. We address the remaining matter as a question: Who will win the Super Bowl, known as the Bud Bowl — not for beer, but for cannabis, the two contending states, Colorado and Washington being bullish on weed?
It says here Denver wins.
It’s exciting when the No. 1 defense (Seahawks) faces the No. 1 offense (Broncos). And the best defense often smacks around the best offense like a bully smacking around a 90-pound weakling. Life is frustrating that way. Life is frustrating in many ways.
It’s just this particular No. 1 offense is one heck of an offense. It is a numbers-producing machine. It is an abacus. It is doubtful, almost impossible, for the Seahawks’ offense to keep pace with Peyton Manning and his guys. So, we’re really talking about things being overwhelming, about the Broncos overwhelming the gritty, grim northern birds.
Of course, the issue is complicated. We are aware of the complications.
Some say Manning won’t pass well in the gray cold of that big monster stadium close by the Hudson River. His arm isn’t the strongest anymore.
Maybe he won’t pass well — although it says here he will pass well. But get this. The Seahawks aren’t exactly hotsy-totsy away from the noise and tumult of their place.
There are other issues with Manning, one big issue in particular. He is a great numbers producer — a human abacus, a computer, for heaven’s sake. But he hasn’t been so great in the postseason. That is the knock against him, the subtext. Something about not living up to his own standard when all the chips are in. It is the dark cloud on his career and you might say he is playing this game for his standing in history, for his place among the immortals.
It says here he wins the game, certifies his future forever and ever and enters the Pantheon with Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas and the rest.
Other things to consider when doping out this Super Bowl:
How will Seattle’s secondary match up against Denver’s wide receivers?
We know Seattle’s secondary is good. We know about Richard Sherman and we forgive him — we have a weakness for players from Stanford and Cal. We wish him well. It’s just that Denver has the best wide receivers in the business.
Demaryius Thomas is a top-three wideout. He is Michael Crabtree with speed. Wes Welker is a phenomenon and he’s in Bill Belichick’s head big time. Good for you, Wes. Eric Decker is big and hard to handle, and so is tight end Julius Thomas. The whole group is hard to handle. Big edge to Denver.
How will Seattle’s pass rush do against Denver’s tackles?
Actually, it will do pretty well. It is a strong unit. The Broncos’ entire pass game is predicated on Manning getting rid of the ball fast. It’s all about timing. If Seattle puts pressure on him, hits him, Manning could have trouble. Edge to Seattle.
How will Marshawn Lynch run against Denver’s front seven?
Actually, he will run pretty well. He had 109 yards against the 49ers in the championship game. The 49ers have a better front seven than Denver. Edge to Seattle.
Can the Seahawks’ wide receivers emerge from their funk? There’s another way of phrasing this. Can Seattle produce an offense that doesn’t depend on quarterback Russell Wilson improvising like a madman?
This is the Seahawks’ offense: Wilson looks downfield for receivers who are not open because the entire world already knows the Seahawks’ playbook and can defend the pass routes no sweat, knew all the Seattle plays about a month ago. After looking downfield at nothing, Wilson starts running away from big guys who want to hit him but are too slow to catch up to him. It’s kind of comical to see this part of the play.
You think Wilson will throw the ball out of bounds. But while he’s running, he stops and sets his feet and throws the ball. It looks like a pure desperation heave. You’re thinking he doesn’t have a prayer. From out of nowhere, he throws a laser on the money to some receiver who, long ago, gave up on the pass play and just started running around, cutting and faking like you did on the playground: “Cut left at the sewer and I’ll throw it to you under the horse chestnut tree.”
Can the Seahawks make an offense that is not pure “recess,” to use Vic Fangio’s quirky but entirely appropriate word?
Well, no they can’t. And what they have won’t be enough. Their offense lacks the discipline, imagination and the sheer variety of many offenses, certainly doesn’t approach Denver’s offense for originality, for the number of options available to the quarterback. Wilson will do his thing, but Seattle will not keep up offensively, cannot keep up offensively. Strictly overwhelmed.
Big edge to Denver. This is the deciding edge.
The Broncos defeat the Seahawks 27-20.
Then the long hibernation.
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.