The 2014 NFL season will reach its conclusion tonight when the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks square off in Super Bowl XLVIII. Denver is seeking its third league championship, while the Seahawks are looking to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Seattle for the first time.
This year's big game matches up the league's best offense - Denver is led by league MVP Peyton Manning at quarterback, and his embarrassment of riches at the skill positions includes receivers Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas, as well as a strong running game spearheaded by Knowshon Moreno - against the league's top defense, featuring an elite secondary (Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell) and a criminally underrated pass rush that doesn't feature a single player with a double-digit sack total. The game marks the first time the league's No. 1 scoring offense played the No. 1 scoring defense since 1990, when the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants squared off in Super Bowl XXV.
Speaking of the Bills - that's our forte, after all - a handful of former members of the Buffalo organization have a shot at a Super Bowl ring tonight. No name is bigger than Marshawn Lynch, Seattle's star running back that ruffled some feathers at media day earlier this week. Backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was with the Bills last year, and assistant offensive line coach Pat Ruel was with the Bills in 2003. Oh, and head coach Pete Carroll was with the Bills, too - in 1984, when the Bills finished 2-14. On Denver's sideline, running backs coach Eric Studesville and wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, who both coached for the Bills under Dick Jauron, will be coaching for rings.
We will have a live chat open this evening during the Super Bowl in case anyone feels like dropping in between chicken wings, or during the prolonged commercial breaks and halftime show. Until then, we'll direct you to our very lucky sister sites, whose communities are surely amped and nervous today: Field Gulls covers the Seahawks, while Mile High Report handles the Broncos. We'll see you tonight for the live chat; for now, here's everything you need to know about tonight's festivities.
Denver Broncos (15-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (15-3)
- Kickoff: 6:25PM EST
- Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
- Weather forecast: 32 degrees, wind NNW at 8 mph, 50 percent chance of rain (via Weather.com)
- Referee: Terry McAulay and his crew
- TV: FOX
- Announcers: Joe Buck (play by play), Troy Aikman (color), Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews (sideline reporters)
- Watch online: FOX Sports Go. FOX has turned off the required cable subscriber sign-in for the game; anyone with an iPad in the US can download the app and stream the game for free.
- Radio: Westwood One (check link for local stations and announcers)
- Odds: The Broncos remain slight favorites
- National Anthem: Renee Fleming
- Halftime show: Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Ticket prices: Climbing, thanks to mild weather forecasts