Great matchups abound in this, the pinnacle of the NFL season. Super Bowl XLIX pits the New England Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks in what promises to be a closely contested affair.
At least, that’s the hope. We all thought last year’s Super Bowl would be a great game, but it was apparent from Peyton Manning’s first snap, he and the Denver Broncos were outmatched by Russell Wilson and company.
This time around, the AFC appears to be represented by a team better suited to challenge the Seahawks, a franchise teeming with confidence and ready to add the handle dynasty to its description—a term not used to describe an NFL team since Brady’s Patriots won three titles in the early 2000’s.
Here is a key matchup sure to draw your attention on Super Bowl Sunday.
Tom Brady vs. Richard Sherman
This is the premier matchup to watch throughout the game. With Seattle playing the way it has of late, allowing 3.6 yards per carry and only one rushing touchdown over the past eight games, it may be difficult for New England to get anything going with its stable of running backs.
Therefore, Brady vs. Sherman will be thrust into the forefront of the biggest game of the 2014 season.
The last time these two teams met, Sherman coined the now-popular phrase, “You mad, bro?” He’s not one to shy away from attention and is always looking to get under someone’s skin to gain a competitive advantage. That sentence he uttered over two years ago may still be in the back of Brady’s mind this Sunday.
Truthfully, at that time, I thought he was just coming up to say ‘good game.’ That’s all I thought it was. It was loud after that game, so I didn’t really hear anything. Then I went into the locker room after the game and … he said he was talking trash to me. That was all a bit of a surprise to me.
Whether he’s being truthful about hearing Sherman or not we’ll never know. But the stats say Brady targeted Sherman seven times, completing just two passes for 32 yards and a pick in that 2012 matchup, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).