Beyond Golf — 02 February 2014 by Bob Sherwin
12th Man Fan: How the Seahawks win

(Super Bowl XLVIII is Sunday in New Jersey with two Western teams involved, Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. Golferswest.com’s Bob Sherwin is in New York City all week, with his NYC-based daughter Mary, to represent and provide insight as to what the fans are experiencing in this cold and captivating capital of the world).

NEW YORK – Anyone can make a prediction. In fact, is there anyone who doesn’t have an opinion on the outcome of Sunday’s (today’s) Super Bowl XLVIII, at least in Seattle and Denver.

We’re all subjective to various degrees that color our perspectives. Our projected outcome is more what we want to happen rather than what will. That’s fine. This isn’t war or the stock market. There are no consequences if we’re not correct, other than eternal shame and banishment.

Seattle media, of course, leans toward the Seahawks and the Denver media favors the Broncos. The New York papers are filled with columns of predictors – the majority lean toward Denver. Peyton Manning is the sentimental favorite because the ‘experts’ don’t feel his career would be complete without two Super Bowl victories – like little brother Eli.

Certainly, we’d all be heart-broken if Manning had to settle for one, right? Tragic. His career would be tarnished. He would lose his commercial appeal and just might fall short of the Hall of Fame. How can we allow that to happen? He has to win.

Having said all that, might as well provide my subjective opinion on what’s going to happen this afternoon. You’re either right or you’re wrong and I can handle both.

Yet we’re going beyond the norm of simple predictions. Not only will there be a prediction here, but we’ll take it a step further than the usual prognosticators. We’ll outline the pattern of the game. If you’re going to stick your neck out, be a giraffe.

Earlier in the week, the three writers for golferswest.com offered their picks. I went with Seattle 30, Denver 27. And the MVP would be Seahawks WR Percy Harvin.

Nothing has changed. Here’s how the game will go:

Seahawks actually will score first, 3-0, on a nice drive directed by QB Russell Wilson, who shows great poise for a second-year player in his first Super Bowl. RB Marshawn Lynch is not much of a factor yet as the Broncos’ game plan is clearly designed to take him out of the game.

Then Manning goes to work. He takes his team right down the field, mixing short passes to different receivers with a quick release and a decent mix of runs by Knowshon Moreno. Manning makes it look so easy, you wonder how Seattle can stop him on this day.

He could make this a rout – and early on it looks like it will be. After Denver stops the Seahawks, Manning again takes his team down field in effortless drive for another passing touchdown and a 14-3 lead. There’s a lot of time left in the half yet you’re worried that’s just going to allow Manning to build up an even bigger lead by halftime.

The 12th Man is quite anxious but not the 11 on the field.

The Seahawks offense and Lynch continue to be stymied. They three-and-out. But the Seahawk defense finally shows its mettle. Led by SS Kam Chancellor, who steps up big time, I believe, as the defensive leader in this game, makes the critical tackles to get the Broncos off the field.

Now Harvin steps up. He makes a dazzling punt return and that changes the atmosphere. All of a sudden, Seattle has the mo. Harvin makes a couple more big plays during the next drive, opening the middle up for Lynch and providing Golden Tate with single coverage.

Lynch plunges into the end zone on a short run and it’s 14-10.

Denver has been slowed but not stopped. Manning’s two-minute drill moves the club inside the Seahawks 20 but the defense stops the vaunted passing attack in the final seconds and the Broncos settle for a field goal and a 17-10 halftime lead.

You with me so far? Didn’t know fantasy could be so exciting?

On the opening Denver drive, Manning doesn’t it again. He takes his team down field but again the Broncos stall inside the 30. Field goal for a 20-10 lead.

That’s a big factor in the game. That defensive stand was important – settling for a field goal – is even the turning point. Seattle needed to make adjustments on the Manning-engineered offense that few clubs have ever contained. Seattle has been exceptional all year in second-half adjustments and holding them to a field goal was a major positive.

It’s also a different offense for Seattle coming out, not as conservative, more effective running and Harvin making big plays.

The Seahawks march down field, with eight-and-10-yard runs by Lynch. It’s capped by a 20-something-yard (not sure precisely of the yardage) touchdown on a short pitch (pass) from Wilson to Harvin. It’s 20-17.

Seattle’s defense is in full fight. Chancellor, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas are like glue to their men. The linebackers are key in stopping the short, quick passes and running attempts through the middle. Denver/Manning not looking so effective.

Seattle and Harvin do it again, as Wilson is brilliant on a touchdown drive. Harvin makes a couple key catches, both on third down, and Lynch again scores from close in for Seattle’s first lead of the second half, 24-20.

Denver is far from dead. Now in the fourth quarter, it’s Manning being Manning. He takes the Broncos down field, using the rub patterns effectively and the Broncos score a killer touchdown for a 27-24 lead. It would be the last touchdown for either team.

Wilson directs a stubborn drive that produces a field goal inside five minutes, tie at 27-27.

Is this Manning’s destiny? Can he do it once again? It’s all set up for him to run down the clock and give the Broncos a Super victory with a last-minute score.

Then the Seattle defense, what we have counted on all year, gets the critical turnover. Chancellor doesn’t get the interception but yanks the football out of a receiver’s arms and the Seahawks recover inside two minutes.

There’s no real pressure now on young Wilson because even if he fails, the game goes into overtime. But he doesn’t fail. He finds Harvin on a key sideline pass to keep the drive alive. Lynch keeps punching the line for short gains. The Hawks convert three third downs, use the clock wisely and a last-minute field goal by automatic Steven Hauschka gives Seattle the victory, 30-27.

Denver and Manning have one last hurrah inside of a minute but a Earl Thomas’ interception seals the deal. Sherman goes off again within seven seconds of the final gun.

Wilson was invaluable but doesn’t have the statistics for the MVP vote. Lynch was good but not dominant. It was Harvin who made the critical plays and opened up the offense for everyone. What a great story, as Harvin – missing virtually all season – holds up the MVP trophy and goes to Disney World.

There’s a slim possibility that there may be a play or two differently.

Tour of the day

Once again, thanks to daughter Mary, we can guide you through some Manhattan neighborhoods and offer suggestions for shops and restaurants next time you come through the Big Apple.

Today, she offers a mix of walking tours as well as a mix of evening possibilities.

Lunch on this day was at Keens Steakhouse on West 36th in Midtown. You cannot believe how good the filet is here – and the mushroom sauce. You have to try this place out.

The restaurant, opened in 1885, also has the largest collection of the thin churchwarden pipes, all hanging from the ceiling. Among those who still have their pipes stored here were Babe Ruth, Teddy Roosevelt and Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Then it was off to the West Village, a noticeably quiet area that looks like a family-oriented community with wonderful brownstones. In fact, the most famous brownstone walkup is on Perry St, one that was supposedly the home of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) in the Sex in the City episodes. There’s a sign out front saying $1 for every picture. Ignore that.

Around the corner is a renowned bakery called Magnolia Bakery, famous for its red cupcakes. You can sit for a while for lunch or tea at the Cluny Cafe on West 12th. There was an indie movie being filmed across the street the day we were there.

We had drinks that evening in Soho at the Ear Inn, a joint established in 1817. It has a warm feel to it. It’s actually called the Bar Inn but the outer edges of the neon sign is burned out so the B looks like an E. Locals are used to calling it Ear Inn.

We had more drinks and snacks at the The Skylark Lounge on 39th. It’s has been opened just three months. It’s on the 30th floor with a great view in the Times Square canyon. Food is not so good and they stop selling drinks at midnight. In the city that doesn’t sleep!

We had to have one night in which we tested out sleeping limitations, so with Mary and her two girlfriends, we took a cab well down the lower end of the island, four blocks from the Williamsburg Bridge to a place called DL (Down Low?). It’s a total local hangout with two dancing floors and a floor on the first floor.

Don’t really know how – or why – these kids find these kind of places. This was packed with hundreds of kids – all under 30. Included in the crowd were both team’s mascots, the Seahawks and the Broncos. They were no doubt working on their dance moves for the big game.

We left that place at 3 a.m. and have been trying to catch up on sleep ever since.

Now, it seems, we’ve done everything we can possibly do in NYC. We’re ready for kickoff.

 

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Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 44th year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 10 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. He won't win the club championship any time soon with his 14 handicap and default-swing slice but he does have a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

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