All aspects of play should be challenging for both squads and fun to watch for the fans; however, the biggest spotlight and most of the focus will rightly fall upon the shoulders of two men, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady.
Two very different men who play the game they love in two very different ways. Both are beloved by fanbases and hated by their rivals, with good reason.
It should be noted, that recent events regarding the level of air in footballs aren’t in consideration here. My colleague Rich has an excellent article explaining the gravity of the situation, but this writer is reserving judgment until the league completes its investigation.
Starting his 2nd Super Bowl, in his 3rd season in the NFL, is Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Russell has set the league on fire with his incredibly smooth transition to the league from college. Not the most conventional QB, he excels in the read option and improvisation.
He’s as dangerous with his legs as he is with his arm. With that mobility, he is always a threat to opposing defenses via the run or passing game. He will pose a tough challenge for the Patriots, as he tends to be better outside the pocket.
If he has a weakness, it’s that he sometimes is forced to do too much, and can make mistakes in those situations. A poor quality Offensive Coordinator has hamstrung his game a bit at times, and that may come into play in the Super Bowl.
Numbers to know: 10-0 record against Super Bowl QBs
This will be the record 6th Super Bowl for Tom Brady, who is going for his 4th ring. Tom is known for his cool demeanor, his pocket management and his ability to read defenses. He’s in the top 5 all-time on pretty much every passing statistic you can imagine, yet making the case for being the greatest QB ever isn’t on his mind.
Where Russell thrives outside the pocket, Tom is at home within the pocket. If the Seahawks defense gives Tom even as little as 3 seconds a play to make throws, they will be burned by his accuracy.
He also has one of the most dynamic tight ends of the game in “Gronk” who tends to find the mismatch in coverage at least 2 or 3 times a game, leading to points. The only other active QB who can claim to be as good in big games and situations is lining up against him.
Numbers to know: Career Passer rating in Playoffs: 88.0; 2nd youngest QB to ever win Super Bowl(Wilson is 3rd youngest).
This is shaping up to be a great showdown between two excellent QBs and their play styles. Russell Wilson fits the new mold, a mobile QB who supports a great run game with his legs and smarts.
On the other side, Tom Brady represents the old school classic pocket QB. Despite that contrast of the old and new, their career arcs are extremely similar. In the first 3 seasons of both careers, Russell matches up favorably.
However, what this game coms sdown to is how the defenses decide to play these guys. With the loss of Jordan Hill, the Seahawks have diminished capability for interior rushing of the passer. This fact led to Green Bay’s one-legged Aaron Rodgers only being sacked 1 time during Championship week. If that trend continues, expect Brady’s vision and experience to capitalize and take advantage of his time in the pocket. Regardless, it should be a lot of fun to see which QB comes out on top, as one of these should be the Super Bowl MVP.
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