Beyond Golf — 29 January 2014 by Jim Street
Super Bowl winner: Seattle in close one

The Super Bowl matchup Sunday between the NFC champion Seahawks and AFC champion Broncos has all the ingredients of being one of the most exciting Super Bowls in history.

On one hand, you have the team with the best offense in the NFL, the Peyton Manning-led Broncos. And on the other hand, you have the league’s stingiest defense, led by a confident, boisterous, intelligent, gregarious, sound-bite-waiting-to-happen All-Pro Richard Sherman.

Golferswest.com is represented at the week-long festivities in New York/New Jersey by our fearless leader, Bob Sherwin. His colorful prose this week is the highlight of our ever-improving website. The other GW scribes are stay-at-home writers during Super Bowl week, studying the strengths and weaknesses of both teams and, like millions of other people, trying to predict the winner of Super Bowl XLVIII.

And here are our picks:

Bob Sherwin

Seattle 30, Denver 27

MVP: Seahawks WR Percy Harvin

Whether I’m a working sportswriter or just someone going to the game as a fan, I’m still get enamored with a good story. That’s why I think the Seahawks will come up with a second-half comeback 30-27 victory. And wide receiver Percy Harvin, who had played just two games all season because of surgery and injury, will be the MVP. Now that’s a good read.

I think Broncos QB Peyton Manning will have his way early, building maybe a 10-point lead. But the Seahawks, with the league’s best defense, have been terrific at second-half adjustments all season. They will find the way to control Mr. Omaha. RB Marshawn Lynch finally will soften up the middle and draw more linebacker/secondary attention. That will allow Harvin, quick and elusive, to get open for huge chunks of yards, and perhaps a couple touchdowns. I don’t think Wilson or Lynch will have the numbers to warrant the MVP choice but Harvin should have enough all-purpose yards – including punt returns – to attract MVP votes – and a great readership Monday morning.

Jim Street 

Denver 21, Seattle 17

MVP: Broncos QB Peyton Manning

The Seahawks’ defense is the best in the NFL. The defensive backfield, led by
the vociferous and occasional outrageous cornerback Richard Sherman, is the
most physical, most confident, most effective unit in all of football.

Even so, the Broncos have a quarterback who can be lethal against any defense,
including one that stands in the way of a Super Bowl championship. As good as
the Seahawks defense is, I believe the NFL’s MVP-to-be will lead the underdog
Broncos to the Super Bowl championship in New Jersey. Manning has set virtually
every single-season passing record this season and has had two weeks to scope
out the Seattle defense. He won’t shred the Seahawks’ defense at will, but
he’ll “Omaha” them into submission, with a dink here, a dink there, and an
occasional bomb that will produce three passing touchdowns.

He’ll spread it  around, hitting Wes Welker here, Damaryius Thomas there and Eric Decker over there. Manning has  so many weapons that it’s practically impossible to cover everyone.

Kirby Arnold

Seattle 23, Denver 20

MVP: Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch

While one Golferswest.com writer plays in New York/New Jersey/Siberia to take in the Super Bowl first-hand and another stays home in Seattle absorbing the euphoria that has swept the Northwest, please feel for me.

I’m stuck in the Arizona desert, a football wasteland this time of the year, straining to muster an enthusiasm for Sunday’s big game. It’s not easy, but I try. I try to get into a football frame of mind every time I’m on the golf course, which is nearly every day.  I try every time I’m on the driving range trying to hit a high draw, which is nearly every day before I hit the golf course. I try every time I sit on my patio looking out over the blooming bougainvillea as the sun sets behind the palm trees.

Every day is the same down here in Phoenix – temps in the mid-70s to low 80s, hardly a cloud overhead and the “thwack” of a Titleist the only real interruption of the serenity (unless that “thwack” is followed by the sound of breaking glass and some four-letter words).

I’m not asking for a pity party, but I hope someone feels my pain as I try to get into the Super Bowl spirit. This is a place where it’s difficult to get a sense of the football weather in New York/New Jersey/Siberia or find anyone not from Seattle who really likes the Seahawks (thanks, Richard Sherman).

Having said all that, I really like the Seahawks.

Defense leads to championships, and the Seahawks have one that hits with venom and offers no apologies afterward.  Oh, they’ll get into an opponent’s ear after a play, but not with an apology.

The only thing that may derail the Seahawks would be a disastrous game by young quarterback Russell Wilson. I don’t see that happening, because the Seahawks have rarely put Wilson in a position to make the big mistake down the regular-season stretch or two playoff games.

Because of that, and Seattle’s best-in-the-league defense, I’m picking the Seahawks to beat the Broncos 23-20.

And then I’ll go back to figuring how to hit a high draw.

 

 

 

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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