On Tuesday, the NFL announced that opera singer Renee Fleming will perform the national anthem for the 2014 Super Bowl. Fleming is a soprano and a four-time Grammy winner, recent winning the 2013 award for Best Classical Solo Vocal.
That's big news -- the national anthem is almost as hyped as the halftime show these days. This year's halftime show will feature Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The anthem is a big deal for people who love getting into the prop bets. One of the hot bets each year seems to be for how long the anthem runs.
Well now is your chance to look up all you can on Fleming to try and get your edge. Previous singers included Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera -- all pop artists.
While the opening lines were at even money or slightly favoring the Seattle Seahawks, the Denver Broncos are now the favorites. That's because a large portion of the incoming cash is on Denver, and has been since betting opened. Denver was up to -2.5 early Tuesday, with the total set at 47.5 or 48 points. Still, underdogs have won four of the last six Super Bowls, so anything can happen.
It's no secret: the Seahawks have one of the best defenses in the NFL this season and one of the top defenses in a long time. They've got one of the best secondaries of all time as well, but they're up against what is statistically the most productive offense of all time. There's a lot of "of all time" to be had here. Over at Field Gulls, they took a long look at what is generally favored in the Super Bowl and, you guessed it: it's defense.
So this doesn't register high on the "means a lot to a lot of people" scale, but there are some out there who really care about the refereeing team. There's nothing controversial there though, as Terry McAulay is named the Super Bowl XLVIII referee. He doesn't have any glaringly terrible calls that come to mind.
Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase told the Cleveland Browns to continue their head coaching search without him. Cleveland was reportedly big on Gase, but the assistant decided he needs this week to focus on the task at hand: beating the Seahawks. So they've got his focus. Then again, it's unlikely Gase would have went elsewhere regardless.
- Wide receiver Percy Harvin is expected to attend team practice on Wednesday. Whether he'll be ready for the game is anybody's guess, but the team hopes he'll be able to suit up. He has not been reliable thus far, but practicing this early on in the proceedings is a good sign.
- Fellow receiver Doug Baldwin officially has a hip pointer, sustained against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship. Baldwin should be able to practice on Wednesday and barring any setbacks, should be good to go.
- There's not a whole lot to worry about on the Denver side -- there's running back Knowshon Moreno and cornerback Tony Carter, but both seem in-line to play on Sunday. Moreno's X-rays came back negative and Carter did not sustain a concussion in the AFC Championship.
Numbers of interest: 13:2
Those numbers may look a little odd, but what they are is simple: a comparison. Over the past five games, the Seattle Seahawks have picked off 13 passes. Over the past five games, Peyton Manning has thrown just two interceptions. That's a pretty huge disparity, and something has got to give when these two teams meet on the field.