Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots is this upcoming Sunday, and the tensions between the two teams are high. The battle will feature the league’s most dominant defense against one of the NFL’s best offenses, respectively, and the matchup should be one for the books. Adding fuel to the fire is the number of verbal jabs thrown back and forth by both teams, and, of course, the conspiracy known as “deflate-gate.”
“Deflate-gate” refers to the investigation by the NFL involving the AFC Championship Game between the Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts, in which it was initially found that 11 of the Patriots’ 12 footballs were underinflated by two psi (pounds per square inch) according to league rules. Upon further review, it was determined that the total of faulty footballs was 10 out of 12, and that they weighed around one psi less than they were supposed to instead of two, but the damage was still done. This made people wonder if the Patriots deserved to be in the Super Bowl after being caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
For those who don’t know, deflated footballs are easier to grip and throw in bad weather conditions, so using such balls during a game like the AFC Championship (when the weather was terrible) would have given the Patriots a large advantage. However, despite the fact that the Patriots were caught cheating (again), it would have made no difference on the outcome of the game had they been using regulation balls, as they totally and utterly destroyed the Colts.
Whether or not the Patriots actually gained an advantage from using irregular balls will forever remain unknown, but since the Patriots have a history of bending the rules (Spygate), people will still always remember this as the season of “deflate-gate.” Whatever the case may be, “deflate-gate” will cast a large shadow on the Super Bowl, as many of the players (like Seattle’s Richard Sherman) have voiced their opinions on the matter and made it into a hot topic of conversation.
Another thing that will make the game into a more interesting matchup is the aforementioned verbal posturing that has been taking place. Seattle defensive back Jeremy Lane came out a few days ago as saying that New England’s star tight end, Rob Gronkowski, isn’t very good, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. His teammate, Sherman, immediately tried to put out the flames by saying that Gronkowski is a skilled opponent, but the damage has already been done.
Sherman then gave both teams bulletin board material by saying that New England quarterback Tom Brady is not as “clean-cut” as everybody seems to think he is, and that Brady “was pretty much saying that we were nobodies and that we should come up to him after they get the win,” (in reference to Seattle’s 24-23 win over the Patriots in 2012). This trash talk should add some more sparks to each team’s game, and make them want to win that much more.
Whatever the circumstances leading up to the game may involve, the contest should be a very enjoyable one. I predict that the Seahawks will pull out the win by three points, thanks in large part to their very impressive defense, but this is such a close matchup that it could go either way.