Kickoff is just an hour and a half away. The buzz at the University of Phoenix stadium will ascend to a roar in just a few short hours. Two great teams, the number 1 seed of their respective conferences, will meet at midfield and flip a coin. And then, we will be underway. Whether it is red and blue confetti flying or neon green and navy will have a distinct and remarkable impact on NFL history and the legacy of some of the games greatest players.
If the Patriots win…
- Tom Brady becomes the front runner in the greatest quarterback of all time debate. Most of the time, the winning quarterback is the Super Bowl MVP. This would be Brady’s third Super Bowl MVP and 4th Super Bowl victory, tying his childhood idol Joe Montana in each category. With his impressive regular season statistics, it would become even harder to mount an argument against him as the greatest quarterback of all time.
- Bill Belichick would make his push for the greatest coach of all time. Already cemented in football lore for his curt answers and cut sleeved sweatshirts, Belichick would elevate himself to a level only reached previously by Steelers legend Chuck Noll with his fourth ring.
- The pain of “18 and 1” would finally subside. The Patriots were out for revenge in Super Bowl XLVI (2011 season), but that game only served to rub salt in old wounds and open new ones as the New York Giants and Eli Manning improved to 2-0 against the Patriots in Super Bowls. The 2007 New England Patriots will continue to be looked at as the greatest team that never was, but a 4-2 record in Super Bowls would finally silence some of the critics.
- Rob Gronkowski would make his early push for the Hall of Fame. Just 25, “Gronk” is widely acknowledged as one of the most freakish athletes to ever play the game, but has struggled with injuries throughout his young career. Still, Gronkowksi has put up huge numbers when he is on the field, and he won’t be slowed by an ankle injury this year as he was in 2012 Super Bowl. A Super Bowl win would give him strong consideration for the Hall of Fame if he plays five more years at his current level.
- The practice of taking a chance on free agents with a troubled past would become more common. Belichick has always given guys a chance if they have talent, and he has been rewarded with clutch contributions from the likes of LaGarrete Blount and Brandon Browner, two players who have struggled to stay on the straight and narrow but have made huge contributions to this Patriots squad since joining the team.
If the Seahawks win…
- Russel Wilson gets paid. Big time. Two Super Bowl rings creates huge negotiating leverage. Wilson is a good guy, it seems, but he wants to get his due and he will get it, most likely at the expense of the Seahawks’ ability to sign other players. The contract may cripple the Seahawks’ future if Wilson regresses.
- The enigmatic Marshawn Lynch goes down as one of the great running backs in NFL History. A star at Cal coming out of Oakland Tech, Lynch’s career started with a few forgettable years in Buffalo before he caught on with the Seahawks. “Beast Mode” runs with a power and ferocity unmatched throughout the NFL. His infamous interviews with the media will become stuff of legend, and others who don’t feel like talking to the media and feel like being rude may follow suit. (Ex: Russel Westbrook of the OKC Thunder).
- Pete Carrol will be remembered more for his time in Seattle than his time at USC. A great college coach, Carrol’s reputation will stand on the strength of his two Super Bowl victories.
- Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s legacies are forever tarnished. They would no longer be the duo that won a trio of Super Bowls in a short period of time, but a pair that went an average .500 in Super Bowls and was never the same after the soul-crushing “18 and 1”.
- Speaking of 18 and 1, 18 is really not a good number in Boston. War of 1812, “19-18” and recently, “18 and 1”.
- The Legion of Boom goes down as the greatest secondary, and perhaps the greatest defense in NFL history. Two straight championships are the beginning of a dynasty
- Richard Sherman makes even more money for being a brash, arrogant, player. Argh.
Hopefully it will be better than last time. Tom Brady grew up a 49er fan, so go Pats, I guess.
In an unrelated story, several of the Seahawks equipment managers were caught inflating footballs prior to the game to 3 times the recommended PSI. (Not really. It’s a joke.)