Super Bowl fever has struck the debate desk as we dive into the heroes and villains of Broncos versus Seahawks. We’re in for one hell of a game, but that’s secondary to the media circus swarming these teams. Dan Salem and Todd Salem tackle this topic in part one of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.
There are a number of ways to tackle this matchup, pun intended, but I sincerely apologize for it.
First, I think we can agree these were the two best teams in the league, right? For so many years now, wildcard teams have made extended runs through the NFL playoffs, with analysts saying how they got hot at the right time. Well, for once, there was no discussion of misplaced peaking. The Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos were the best teams in their respective conferences all year long.
In fact, they were probably the two favorites during the summer as well, before the season even began. If not, they were at least in the top two of their conferences, with, most likely, the other two teams that played in the conference championship games. The 2013-14 playoffs were all chalk in that regard.
But while these were the two best teams, were they the two teams the NFL wanted? I would say that Denver was the best AFC team for the league, ratings-wise. No one brings in an audience like Peyton Manning. However, I can’t help but feel as though the league would have preferred a Broncos-49ers Super Bowl. San Francisco has the franchise pedigree and the character head coach.
Am I off-base in thinking that Seattle doesn’t generate casual fan interest? Richard Sherman’s antics certainly helped to generate some publicity surrounding the team, but Russell Wilson seems boring (and not particularly good!), the team in general plays boring on offense and Pete Carroll is a fun player’s coach but not much else.
Yet even if I don’t think Seattle tips the ratings needle, the Seahawks facing the Broncos is certainly the best football matchup the NFL could have asked for.
We haven’t had playoff chalk in a long time. I don’t know whether to feel relieved or sad, but both of us did NFL power rankings throughout the season and Denver and Seattle never fell out of the top three. Unfortunately this doesn’t make us geniuses, but it speaks volumes to how awesome this Super Bowl matchup is on paper.
What isn’t awesome on paper is the matchup from the league marketing standpoint. You are completely on base here and I’m not sure the New England Patriots don’t trump the Broncos either. Let’s get the easy one out of the way, the San Francisco 49ers are infinitely more marketable for the NFL. They are a storied franchise with multiple Super Bowl titles, have a nationwide fan base and reside in a major media market. Seattle is not any of those things. As for Broncos or Patriots, the Boston market is much bigger than Denver’s. I’ll say Peyton Manning does trump Tom Brady, but the Patriots as villains is nearly as strong as the Broncos as heroes. Either way you slice the bread, what we have is the best football matchup and not the best marketing matchup.
This whole argument makes me wonder, did the media as a collective whole jump all over Richard Sherman in order to make the Seattle Seahawks a national story? The extent of the reaction to his antics blows me away. If nothing else, it speaks to how the NFL is truly king, but I think there’s more going on.
Every city in the country knows about Seattle now, knows about Sherman and has a ‘villain’ for their Super Bowl. I’m putting villain in quotes because the whole thing is laughable. Sure the guy was a bit rude to his opponent, but it doesn’t make his team the villains. It doesn’t even make him a villain. Peyton Manning is infinitely more a villain, but we ‘like’ him too much to realize it. He’s the smug old man sticking it to the quiet youngster. He’s stealing your Oreos and making you think it was your idea to let him have them. No one in the sports media will touch the ground beneath his feet with even a hint of dirt before the day he retires and in swoops Richard Sherman to save the day and give them something to yell at.
Broncos versus Seahawks is now officially interesting for everyone. Thank you Michael Crabtree.