The Seattle Seahawks will take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Seattle took down the San Francisco 49ers in a nail biter of an NFC Championship game, while the Broncos demolished the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship. Both teams are the respective No. 1 seeds for their conference. Yeah, there's just a little bit of hype behind this one.
But what does the Super Bowl mean for either of these teams? Actually, it can end up being a lot different for either. On one hand you have the Broncos, who have been here before and won here before, but also Peyton Manning, who is fighting an awful lot of criticism over past Super Bowl appearances. Then on the other hand, there's the Seahawks, who have only tasted the big game once before, a controversial loss.
Denver last appeared in the Super Bowl in the 1998 season, when they bested the Atlanta Falcons. It was their second consecutive Super Bowl victory, as the team bested the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII for the 1997 season. The last one was John Elway's last game, and he went off in a big way with an 80-yard touchdown pass to Rod Smith and 336 passing yards altogether.
But Denver has been in more than those two Super Bowls. The Broncos have appeared in six total, but only have those two Lombardi trophies to show for it. The Broncos lost their first four trips to the big game. If they won those games, they'd be tied with storied franchises like the Dallas Cowboys and aforementioned San Francisco 49ers, who have five Lombardis apiece. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the only team with six.
While Denver has an opportunity to get halfway to Pittsburgh's six titles, one of the Steelers' Super Bowls holds particular significance to the Seahawks. That's because the Steelers were the team to down Seattle in their only Super Bowl appearance, back in 2005.
That game cut deep for Seattle fans. The Seahawks entered the game having put up a 13-3 record in the regular season, an NFC best. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, had an 11-5 record and made it into the playoffs as a wild card team, and the No. 6 seed at that. Seattle was expected to dominate.
Instead, the Steelers seemed to benefit from multiple poor calls by officials. Darrell Jackson was called for a push-off that negated a touchdown, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was down short of a touchdown, but was given credit for it regardless. There were disputed holding calls and illegal block calls. It has gone down as one of the more controversial games of all time.
So Denver is fighting for its third Lombardi trophy, while the Seahawks are fighting for their first. They're both a ways off from having the most in the league, but it's one season at a time. Seattle winning this game would bring the NFL to 12 teams that have yet to won a Super Bowl -- the Bills, Bengals, Browns, Texans, Jaguars, Chargers, Eagles, Lions, Vikings, Falcons, Panthers and Cardinals.