Irresistible force vs. Immovable object
What do you get when you combine a New York state of mind with a dose of Jersey? Nothing other than Super Bowl XLVIII featuring the AFC champion Broncos and the NFC champion Seahawks on February 2 at MetLife Stadium. This will be Denver’s seventh Super Bowl appearance (2-4) while Seattle is in its second title game (0-1).
Broncos: Mind-blowing stats
Big-game experience: The Broncos are 2-4 in their previous Super Bowl appearances. But Denver won its past two: 31-24 over Green Bay in XXXII and 34-19 over Atlanta in XXXIII.
Indicator of success: Bronco fans are hoping their team leads at halftime of Super Bowl XLVIII. Denver is now 14-1 all time in the postseason when leading at halftime, including 5-0 in AFC title games. The one loss? Super Bowl XXI, when the Broncos led the Giants 10-9 at halftime before losing 39-20.
Defensive turnaround: The Denver defense was maligned during the first 14 games, giving up 26.6 points and 371.5 yards per game. But in the past four games, including two in the postseason, the Broncos have turned stingy, allowing just 15 points and 268.5 yards per game.
Seahawks: Mind-blowing stats
Beast Mode unleashed: Marshawn Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards in four of six career playoff games, including 100-plus efforts against both the Saints and 49ers in postseason victories this season.
Seattle strength: The Seahawks finished the regular season first in total and scoring defense, the 25th time a team has led both categories since 1940. That team has reached the title game 14 times and won the title game nine times (most recently the 2008 Steelers).
Carroll's touch: Seattle's defense has shown remarkable progression since Pete Carroll took over as head coach. The unit ranked 27th overall in 2010, improved to ninth in 2011, fourth in 2012 and first in 2013.
Broncos worth watching
QB Peyton Manning
Manning is coming off the greatest regular season ever by a QB with 5,477 yards passing and 55 TDs. He is trying to become the first QB to win Super Bowl titles with two different franchises, having gone 1-1 while quarterback of the Colts.
Led by Pro Bowl selection Demaryius Thomas, Denver has four receivers with 10+ TDs and more than 60 catches each -- Thomas, Julius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker. Nine different receivers had at least 10 catches during the regular season with eight different receivers catching TDs. Demaryius Thomas and Decker each had more than 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season, while Welker and Julius Thomas both had more than 750 yards.
Coach John Fox
Fox has now taken two franchises to Super Bowls, just the sixth coach ever to do so. He has 115 wins, fifth among active NFL head coaches. In three seasons with Denver, he is 37-16 including a 3-2 record during the postseason.
Seahawks worth watching
QB Russell Wilson
Wilson has the most regular-season wins by a QB in his first two seasons since 1950 and is tied for most including postseason in first two seasons since 1950 with 27. He is the only player in NFL history to have a 100+ passer rating in both his rookie and second season.
Legion of Boom
Led by Richard Sherman, Seattle's defense and its "Legion of Boom" secondary finished the regular season ranked first in total and scoring defense. It ranked first in points per game allowed, yards per game allowed, passing yards per game allowed and total takeaways. It was seventh in rushing yards per game allowed.
Coach Pete Carroll
Carroll reaches the Super Bowl with the Seahawks, the third NFL team he has coached (joining Jets and Patriots). He reached the playoffs in his first season with both the Patriots and the Seahawks, one of six coaches in NFL history to lead multiple franchises to the postseason in the first year on the job. At age 62, he is the second-oldest coach in the NFL behind the Giants' Tom Coughlin and would be the third-oldest coach to win a Super Bowl behind Coughlin and the Rams' Dick Vermeil.