Super Bowl XLIX is one of the closest Super Bowl matchups in a long time. Both teams seem to have a very good chance of bringing home the Lombardi trophy. But you wouldn’t know it.
This year’s Super Bowl has become a media circus. It all began with the now-infamous “Deflategate,” a controversy named after their spying scandal seven and a half years prior, where the New England Patriots are now accused of deflating footballs under the threshold set by the NFL rulebook (10 pounds per square inch as opposed to 12.5).
Recently, a locker room aide has been singled out and questioned, while multiple individuals and even ESPN’s Sports Science (a segment that was mysteriously taken off the air as soon as it was on) suggested that the inclement weather likely affected the footballs, and that the recorded pressure difference didn’t offer a competitive advantage.
On the other side, you have the media frenzy over a man with few words. Very few words. Marshawn Lynch has gotten heat from the NFL for his refusal to talk with the media, showing his disdain by only answering questions with short phrases such as “I’m thankful” and “I’m only here so I won’t get fined.” His single phrases and shoutouts are squeezed into the short time he’s available, before his iPhone alarm gives him the go-ahead to quickly leave the podium.
Underneath all of the media distractions is an extremely intriguing game. New England’s top-ten pass offense takes on the top pass defense in the league. Both teams also boast a top-ten rushing defense, possibly forcing Russell Wilson to make most of the plays with his arm and feet and Brady to face the Legion of Boom. The outstanding defensive back Legion of Seattle will be closely watched, as Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas both suffered injuries in the NFC Championship Game.
Then there comes the storylines with the statistics. Wilson and the Seahawks climb ever closer to, dare I say it, a dynasty in the Emerald City with a second consecutive NFL Championship. Should they fall, you have the greatest quarterback and coach combination of all time earning their fourth championship in their sixth try, avenging their last two failed attempts against the New York Giants.
All the media frenzy aside, the game turned out to be intense and closely competitive. Scores by Brandon LaFell and Rob Gronkowski were answered by Marshawn Lynch and Chris Matthews, and the first half ended as no team had a clear edge.
The Seahawks began to slowly pull away in the second half, extending the lead to 24–14 behind a Steven Hauschka field goal and a touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin. However, Tom Brady led the Patriots to a 4-point lead, with passes to Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. With under two minutes to play, an outstanding catch by Jermaine Kearse put Seattle in the red zone. With the ball on the one, Russell Wilson threw an interception to Malcolm Butler to seal the game.
So after Deflategate, the social adventures of Marshawn Lynch and all the other media distractions, Super Bowl XLIX still delivered.
*Editor’s note: Managing Editor Conor Fellin prefers “Waterflate.”