sports

The Big Game Is All Set

Enjoying everything that goes into a Super Bowl Sunday

The controversial and entertaining Richard Sherman at a recent press conference
The controversial and entertaining Richard Sherman at a recent press conference

The Final Four of the NCAA Tournament is the most famous-sounding semifinal match up, but the National Football League's Conference Finals served the same purpose and provided much of the same intrigue the previous weekend. And now that the semis are through, it's that time of the year when football is all any sports fan can talk about. It's time for the big game: Super Bowl XLIX.

The Seahawks got there in historic fashion, scoring 15 points in 55 seconds, to storm into overtime and eventually triumph over the Green Bay Packers. Seattle gets to go to the Super Bowl in repeating years, something that hasn't happened since the Patriots did it just over a decade ago. The Seahawks also got the upper hand in betting in the immediate aftermath of the Conference Finals weekend, but the line continues to morph.

On the other side of the equation, we find the old familiar. Representing to some the evil empire, the New England Patriots will be back in their sixth Super Bowl in 14 years. The Patriots absolutely smashed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7. But since the game finished, all the stories have focused on Patriots-fatigue leading to lower ticket prices or the evolving story of deflated footballs. Who even knew this was a thing?

While the dismissed teams will have things to mull over—the Packers will look to Aaron Rodgers to do some serious healing, and the Colts are rejoicing over the choice they made to go with young Andrew Luck over Broncos QB Manning—the teams playing in the big game on Feb. 1 will have enjoyed weeks of unadulterated attention. The media scrum leading up to the Super Bowl is almost always one of the most entertaining. Marshawn Lynch, in trouble even before his last game, will be there, and he might even talk. Richard Sherman, he of last year's controversial video and this year's troubling injury, will be there. The upstart quarterback Russell Wilson will be there, enveloped by his coach, Pete Carroll, still completely removed from any of the sanctions he left behind him at USC.

And, of course, the Patriots will be there. Bill Belichick will be grumpy. The stories about the deflated footballs will inevitably spiral out of control. Tom Brady will reflect on his relationship with Rob Gronkowski. There'll be an extra angle because Belichick, the architect of so much of this New England success—or, at least, the one who gets the lion's share of the credit—replaced Pete Carroll as the coach of the Patriots. New England is 3 of 5 in the big game since Belichick's arrival, with their only losses coming to the New York Giants.

So you've got just under a week. Grab some buddies. Make a grid. Place some bets. And then, even if you don't watch the big game, check out the ads. People are sure to be talking about them. There's something for everyone.