Any attempt to divine a hidden key to Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks is a lot like mapping a route through the host state itself: you could spend hours searching for alternate routes, or you could be smart and concede that the most obvious route, the New Jersey Turnpike, is the fastest (a lesson, alas, that this writer has learned the hard way).
It’s Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and the NFL’s top-rated offense versus the Seahawk secondary, a.k.a. the “Legion of Boom,” and the league’s top-rated defense. The winner of this battle takes home the Vince Lombardi Trophy—and perhaps they will make a pit stop at the Vince Lombardi Rest Area, located a mere four miles north of the stadium on that aforementioned toll road.
As for which legacies are at stake, no one actually loses face by appearing in a Super Bowl (except the Buffalo Bills). If the Broncos win, Manning adds another exclamation mark to the greatest statistical season an NFL passer has ever had, besides adding a second Super Bowl ring to his collection. If Seattle wins, Pete Carroll becomes only the third coach to win both a college football national championship and a Super Bowl—after Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer, both of whom won the Super Bowl with essentially the same Dallas Cowboys core. Carroll, who was fired after just one season as coach of the New York Jets 19 years ago, in his first head-coaching job, will also claim some long-overdue redemption. (And he did escape the burning building that is the Jets, so he can’t be too bitter.)
Meanwhile, to enhance your Super Bowl XLVIII experience, here are 10 recommended Twitter follows for the game. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
Jason Gay / @jasonwsj—Witty sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal
Chris Brown / @smartfootball—Hyper-intelligent X’s-and-O’s guy
Adam Schefter / @AdamSchefter—ESPN’s NFL insider
Jane McManus / @JaneSports—New York-based NFL writer is a jolly good follow
Jay Glazer / @JayGlazer—Fox’s breaking news guy, and Fox is doing the broadcast, so…
Peyton’s Head / @PeytonsHead—Pitch-perfect parody account for Peyton Manning
Benjamin Hochman / @Hochman—Denver Post sports columnist
John Walters / @jdubs88—I’ll be here all night
Grab the whole list here, or check them out on Newsweek.com