Although it doesn’t appear there will be any snow in the New York area this weekend, there is still a blizzard of information headed this way.
Whether it’s Peyton Manning’s ridiculous statistics, Pete Carroll’s age or how Seattle defensive tackle Red Bryant got his nickname, here’s all you need to know (and even some things you don’t need to know) about Super Bowl 48:
1. Amazingly, this is just the second time in the last 20 years the two No. 1 seeds from each conference advanced to the Super Bowl. The other was in Supe 44 when Drew Brees and the Saints beat Peyton Manning’s Colts.
2. Seattle’s Russell Wilson could join Kurt Warner, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger as the only quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl within their first two seasons.
3. Peyton Manning, with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, posted the greatest statistical season of any quarterback ever. On average, he was selected middle-to-late in the second round in fantasy drafts.
4. Denver holds a 34-19 series edge on Seattle, which is mostly useless since many of the guys playing Sunday were not involved in the most recent meeting in 2010. However, the last time the Broncos won the Super Bowl, following the 1998 season, they beat Atlanta by the score of 34-19.
5. Terry McAulay will referee his third Super Bowl. His first was SB39, when the Eagles lost to the Patriots. His umpire is Carl Paganelli, who also umpired Supe 39.
6. Seattle fans won’t like this, but Earnie Frantz is the replay official. Frantz is reviled in Seattle (even if many fans don’t remember his name) as the head linesman who incorrectly ruled that Vinny Testaverde scored on a quarterback sneak for the Jets late in the 1998 season. The Seahawks lost that day and missed the playoffs by one game. Oddly, that was one of the plays that pushed the NFL toward adopting instant replay, which is where Frantz will be working this weekend.
7. Players on the winning team will get a $53,000 bonus, losers get $46,000. Eagles players got $9,000 after losing Super Bowl 15 and $36,500 after dropping Supe 39.
8. The Seattle and Denver players already have earned $65,000 in bonuses for winning their first two playoff games.
9. Denver is the home team, so Seattle will call the coin toss before the game and, if necessary, at the start of overtime.
10. Each quarterback made his MetLife Stadium debut this year in wins over the New York Giants. Manning, in September, threw for 307 yards on a 70-degree day. Wilson managed a 23-0 December win with 206 passing yards when it was 36 degrees (windchill of 30) and a slight 7 mph breeze.
11. Whenever Seattle safety Earl Thomas’ name comes up, many Eagles fans clench their teeth. Thomas was the safety the Eagles could have taken in the 2010 draft to replace Brian Dawkins, who (ironically) had signed with Denver two months earlier. The Birds instead took defensive end Brandon Graham with the 13th pick. Seattle grabbed Thomas at 14.
12. Thomas was picked to his third Pro Bowl this year. Graham, although showing signs of improvement, was not.
13. Denver is making its seventh Super Bowl appearance. Craig Morton started the first (Supe 12), John Elway the next five.
14. Elway was 37 when he won his first Super Bowl for the Broncos, same age as Peyton Manning is.
15. Pete Carroll, 62, would be the third-oldest coach to win a Super Bowl. Only Tom Coughlin (65) and Dick Vermeil (63) were older. Love him or hate him, the guy does look good for 62.
16. Meanwhile, Denver’s John Fox, 58, missed four games this year after having heart-valve-replacement surgery.
17. Fox took Carolina to the Supe after the 2003 season, and is the sixth coach to guide two franchises to the Super Bowl. Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Dick Vermeil and Mike Holmgren are the others. Reeves is the only one on that list who didn’t win a Super Bowl as a coach.
18. Similarly, Peyton Manning will become just the third quarterback to start a Super Bowl for two teams. Craig Morton and Kurt Warner are the others.
19. A win would give Russell Wilson his 28th victory in his first two seasons, which would break the record he currently shares with Ben Roethlisberger.
20. Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is just the third wide receiver in team history to earn multiple Pro Bowl selections. Rod Smith and Brandon Marshall are the others.
21. Thomas was 11 years old when he watched his mother and grandmother get arrested in 1999 for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. The two will watch the Super Bowl from a Florida prison.
22. “They busted into the house when we were getting ready to go to school,” Thomas told the New York Post in 2012. “The only thing I remember is my mother asking them if she could walk us to the bus for the last time.”
23. One of Mike Tyson’s most famous fights was when he knocked out Michael Spinks in just 91 seconds on June 27, 1988. That also was the day Broncos budding star tight end Julius Thomas was born.
24. The halftime entertainment for the first Super Bowl was provided by the University of Michigan and Arizona marching bands. Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are this year’s halftime headliners.
25. Bruno Mars’ real name is Peter Gene Hernandez. He dedicated a recent Grammy Award to his mother, Bernadette, who died in June at age 55 from a brain aneurysm.
26. The Colorado Rockies drafted Russell Wilson as a centerfielder in the fourth round in 2010. With the very next pick, the Phillies selected Bryan Morgado, a lefthanded pitcher out of Tennessee who never made it past Class A.
27. Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant’s actual first name is Joseph. He said he was nicknamed as a child because “my mom said that I was a red baby.” He is married, oddly, to the daughter of Jacob Green, a former Seahawks all-pro defensive lineman. Bryant and Jannelle Green-Bryant met in college at Texas A&M.
28. Seattle’s Pete Carroll is bidding to become just the third coach to win a college national championship and a Super Bowl. Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer are the others.
29. Heaven help the bettors and the offenses if this comes up, but Denver’s backup quarterback is Brock Osweiler and Seattle’s is Tarvaris Jackson.
30. Seattle starter Russell Wilson was picked 18 spots behind Osweiler – but 13 spots ahead of Nick Foles – in the 2012 draft.
31. The Broncos have been held under 27 points just three times all year, but twice were in the playoffs.
32. A quarterback has been the Super Bowl MVP each of the last 4 years (Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco).
33. Seattle is trying to avoid becoming the fifth franchise to appear in multiple Super Bowls without a win. The others are Buffalo and Minnesota (0-4), and the Eagles and Cincinnati (0-2).
34. Fullback/special-teamer Michael Robinson, a former quarterback at Penn State, was cut by Seattle in the summer when he developed kidney and liver failure as side effects from a medication prescribed by the team. Injuries elsewhere forced the Seahawks to call him back in midseason. “If you think there’s loyalty in this business,” the 30-year-old Robinson said this week, “shame on you.”
35. Robinson finished fifth in the Heisman voting as a senior in 2005. Two guys who played at USC under coach Pete Carroll finished ahead of him: Reggie Bush, who forfeited the trophy, and Matt Leinart, who finished third. Vince Young finished second, Brady Quinn was fourth. Robinson is the only one of the five who’s made it to the Super Bowl.
36. Broncos center Manny Ramirez was the team’s right guard last year. He hadn’t started a full season at center since his junior year in high school. “That is no easy task to go from guard to center, especially in a sophisticated, fast-moving, always-changing offense,” quarterback Peyton Manning said in December. “We call one play and change it . . . with five seconds on the play clock. And when we change a play, Manny has to make his own calls. He has just gotten better each week.”
37. Louis Vasquez, who was signed as a free agent to take Ramirez’s job at right guard, was a college teammate of Ramirez’s at Texas Tech.
38. Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett will be a free agent. If he doesn’t re-sign with Seattle, the speculation is that he will latch on with Chicago and become teammates with his younger brother, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett.
39. Dangerous Seahawks return man Percy Harvin missed most of the regular season with a hip injury. He suffered a concussion in Seattle’s first playoff game against the Saints and then sat out the NFC Championship. Harvin has missed 24 games the last two seasons, but he is expected to play on Sunday.
40. The Broncos made Ryan Clady the third-highest paid left tackle in football (behind Cleveland’s Joe Thomas and the Eagles’ Jason Peters) with a five-year, $52.5 million contract last July that included $33 million guaranteed.
41. Clady suffered a Lisfranc injury in his left foot in Week 2 – at MetLife Stadium – and missed the rest of the season. Chris Clark stepped in and the Broncos seemingly never missed a beat.
42. Seattle allowed just 231 points in the regular season (14.4 average), a number Denver surpassed in Week 5. The Broncos set an NFL record by scoring 606 points (37.9).
43. Denver’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Winston Justice and Stewart Bradley (injured reserve) and Seattle’s Chris Clemons are former Eagles. Collegiately, the Broncos’ Terrance Knighton and John Youboty (practice squad) went to Temple and Mike Adams went to Delaware. Denver special teams ace Steven Johnson went to Strath Haven High School. Seattle running back Derrick Coleman, however, never played for the Sixers.
44. Knighton and fellow defensive tackle Sylvester Williams will be particularly key in helping to contain Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch, who does a majority of his running between the offensive tackles.
45. The Eagles will play Seattle at Lincoln Financial Field next season. Denver is not on the Birds’ schedule.
46. Counting the postseason, Denver has 291 more passing attempts than Seattle and has allowed 31 fewer sacks.
47. Nobody is rooting harder for Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch than Wrigley, the company that owns Skittles candy. When he was in Pop Warner, Lynch’s mom convinced him they were power pellets that would make him run faster. He has carried that tradition into the NFL.
48. Fox is charging an average of $4 million for a 30-second commercial. So if the cameras catch Lynch with his candies even for only three seconds, it will be worth $400,000 in free advertising.