By Brady Henderson
Looking ahead to some matchups and storylines ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seahawks and Broncos with the help of ESPN Stats & Info:
Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson will set the Super Bowl record for biggest age gap between starting quarterbacks. (AP)
No. 1 vs. No. 1. How rare is it for the Super Bowl to pit a defense that finished the regular season ranked first in points and yards allowed against the top-ranked offense in both categories? So rare that it’s never happened. Denver led the league in yards (457.3 per game) and points (37.9), while Seattle allowed the fewest yards (273.6) and points (14.4). The top scoring offense and the top scoring defense have met four times in the Super Bowl since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. In terms of yards, the top defense and offense have only met once in the Super Bowl since the merger.
Quarterback matchup for the ages. The age difference of 12 years and 250 days between Denver’s Peyton Manning (born March 24, 1976) and Seattle’s Russell Wilson (Nov. 29, 1988) will be the largest among starting quarterbacks opposing each other in the Super Bowl. That will break the existing record of 10 years and 253 days, which was set in Super Bowl XLIII between Kurt Warner’s Cardinals and Ben Roethlisberger’s Steelers.
Wilson will become the sixth quarterback to start in the Super Bowl in either his first or second NFL season, joining Colin Kaepernick, Roethlisberger, Dan Marino, Kurt Warner and Tom Brady. With a Seahawks win, he would break Roethlisberger’s record for most victories (including playoffs) by a starting quarterback in his first two seasons in the Super Bowl era. Wilson is 27-9 as a starter.
Denver’s run defense. The Broncos allowed 101.6 rushing yards per game during the regular season, the exact same average as Seattle. Each team allowed 3.9 yards per carry. While a particularly high-scoring offense like Denver’s will often force a team’s opponent to play from behind, thereby being more inclined to throw than run, it should be noted that Denver’s run-defense totals came on 420 rushing attempts. Opponents ran 422 times against Seattle.
The Broncos have allowed 129 rushing yards in their two playoff games, including 64 in the AFC title game against the Patriots. Denver held New England’s LeGarrette Blount to just 6 yards on five carries a week after his 166-yard performance against Indianapolis. That was only the second time in postseason history that a player has been held to fewer than 10 rushing yards a week after going for at least 150.
Horse of a different color. The Broncos announced Tuesday they’ve opted to wear their orange jerseys in the Super Bowl, a choice they get to make as the home team. According to the team’s website, Denver has gone 16-3 (including playoffs) since switching to the orange jerseys for home games at the start of the 2012 season. In the last nine Super Bowls, teams wearing the dark jerseys are 1-8. That includes the Seahawks’ loss in Super Bowl XL, when they wore their home blues.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.