Good thing there’s still two weeks until the Super Bowl.
This Seahawks-Patriots pairing needs that long to fit in almost as many storylines as Richard Sherman has insightful/clever/inflammatory/entertaining quotes.
Wait, you don’t agree?
What, “You mad bro?”
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That’s what Sherman directed at New England quarterback Tom Brady on Oct. 14, 2012, after Seattle rallied from being down 23-10 with 8 minutes left. Two touchdown passes from a rookie third-round draft choice named Russell Wilson beat Brady and the AFC-champion Patriots, 24-23, in a Northwest downpour.
That’s the last time these teams met heading into Super Bowl 49 on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona.
But wait, there’s more. Much more:
• The NFL finding the Patriots left 11 of 12 footballs they used in the rain during last weekend’s AFC Championship Game illegally under-inflated, apparently for better gripping and throwing, according to an ESPN report Tuesday night.
• There’s the Seahawks trying to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since …the 2003-04 Patriots.
• Pete Carroll having coached the Patriots from 1997-99 to 10-6, 9-7 and 8-8 seasons; in the first two he reached the playoffs. He and happy hoodie man Bill Belichick are the only two head coaches New England owner and influential NFL power broker Robert Kraft have hired. And they are the two most polar-opposite coaching personas in the sport, maybe any sport.
“It was a real challenge. It’s a great place to be in sports — a great town, a great following, much like it is here,” Carroll said Monday of his time in and around Boston leading the Patriots. “Just tremendous support and all, really heartfelt. … It didn’t work out. We did some good stuff while we were there, but it didn’t work out. And time to move on.
“All of a sudden I sound like Bill (Belichick).”
Belichick, by the way, is 61. That’s two years younger than Carroll.
• Wilson is attempting to equal Brady’s torrent of success so soon. This result could signal something of a changing of the NFL championship-QB guard. Wilson, 26, is trying to join the now-37-year-old Brady in winning two Super Bowls in his first three seasons as a starting quarterback.
• Wilson becoming the first quarterback to start two Super Bowls in his first three years in the league.
• Revisiting Sherman’s feud with New England’s Darrelle Revis over who is the best NFL cornerback. That included this tweet from Sherman in February 2013: “So I have 8 picks 3 ff and a sack. My season stats looking like Revis career stats”
• The ongoing soap opera of whether Marshawn Lynch talks to the media. Here’s guessing his next single-phrase answers will be “How are you?” or “That’s a nice outfit” when he is required by the league’s media policy to talk on three different days next week. That includes multiple days at the team’s hotel just south of downtown Phoenix — and again at the free-for-all of left-field questions from thousands of quasi-“journalists” and riff-raff at the annual Super Bowl media day/freak show. That’s next Tuesday inside the U.S. Airways Center arena in central Phoenix.
• Doug Baldwin having an international media contingent at which to spew a rant — rather than the mere national one that got an expletive-dotted earful about writing off and otherwise disrespecting the Seahawks before, and during, Sunday’s miraculous NFC championship game.
• And we haven’t even mentioned Sherman having an elbow injury that left him unable to raise his arm throughout Sunday’s fourth quarter. Or fellow Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas having his left shoulder separated from its socket during the win over the Packers. Or the keys to how Seattle or New England can win what many Nevada oddsmakers are currently calling a “pick ‘em” Super Bowl.
(The Super Bowl has never kicked off as a “pick ‘em” game — that being for recreational purposes only, of course).
Sherman is likely to get asked about beefing on Brady in his previous, and only, 2012 meeting with the Patriots a time or three over the next two weeks.
What does Carroll remember about that previous game against New England?
“It was raining really hard. It was raining really hard. Tom Brady and somebody were yelling back and forth a little bit,” Carroll said, coyly.
“Everybody was into it. It was a huge game. It felt like a championship game against a great team.”
It was Wilson’s sixth career start — and the beginning of his reputation as a clutch rally maker. His 46-yard pass to Sidney Rice with 1:18 left won it. Wilson was 16 for 27 for 293 yards passing and 133.7 passer rating that day. Brady was 36 of 58 for 395 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 79.3.
Bobby Wagner had 14 tackles while Thomas and Sherman had the interceptions of Brady in what became Seattle’s 11-5 regular season, before a wild-card playoff win at Washington and then last-second divisional-round loss at Atlanta.
That game with the Patriots was the day Sherman began getting noticed nationally for what he says as much as how he plays.
He jawed with Brady during the game. Brady’s retort: looking at the scoreboard while leading 23-10 early in the fourth quarter. After Seattle rallied to win, Sherman thrust his mug at Brady, who was walking off CenturyLink Field with his head and eyes straight ahead toward the tunnel and the Patriots’ locker room.
Soon after, Sherman tweeted a picture of him getting into Brady’s face postgame with the now famous “U MAD BRO?” that became a national catchphrase.
“Every TV timeout, I went up and said it right to (Brady), ‘Please keep trying me. I’m going to take it from you.’ That was when they were winning,” Sherman said in editions of The News Tribune the next day. “He just gave me that look and said, ‘Oh, I’ll see you after game.’ Well, I made sure I saw him after the game.”
Chances are, Sherman’s rhetoric before this Super Bowl won’t be nearly as heated as it was following that previous meeting with Brady and the Patriots.
And if it isn’t, will you be mad bro?
The NFL announced Bill Vinovich is the referee for Super Bowl 49. Vinovich has been a referee in the league since 2004. This is his first Super Bowl. He worked two Seahawks games this season. His regular-season crew, different from his at the Super Bowl that will be from the top ratings tier at each officials’ position, called seven penalties on Seattle in its home win over Denver in September. Vinovich also worked the Seahawks’ win at Philadelphia in early December; Seattle had eight penalties that day. Vinovich was the referee for Baltimore at New England in the AFC divisional playoffs two weeks ago. … The Seahawks are the designated home team for the game, so they have the choice of wearing their blue or their white jerseys. The league alternates Super Bowl home teams each year between the NFC and AFC champions.