Neil Reynolds Super Bowl Preview
Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots contest Super Bowl XLIX at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona this evening (Sunday, February 1).
Seattle came from behind to beat Green Bay Packer 28–22 in the NFC Championship game to book their place in the finale of the NFL season, whilst New England emphatically won their AFC Championship game 45–7 against the Indianapolis Colts. The fairytale stories are already being made for both sides with current Vince Lombardi Trophy holders Seahawks reaching their second Super Bowl in a row.
"What Seattle have achieved is incredible in today's NFL," Sky Sports NFL expert Neil Reynolds exclusively told The American. "Everything is geared towards a level playing field and having different champions each year, where teams can go from worst to first.
"What the Seahawks have done with just the environment their in the NFL is very impressive. Then you have this natural picking of your roster, Seattle lost some players but they weren't devastating loses to their team.
"Most importantly they retained their hunger, Russell Wilson finished last years Super Bowl by saying when he put the Vince Lombardy Trophy back down on the podium he was thinking about winning it again next year."
But it hasn't all been smooth sailing ahead of NFL's showpiece final as Bill Belichick's Patriots have been involved in deflate–gate.
"I think there is probably something to it," Reynolds said. "The problem is there is a perception there now after the whole spy–gate thing with the Patriots. However it won't make too much of a difference to the outcome of the game against the Colts.
"New England were dominating, they could have been playing with a bowling ball and it wouldn't have made a whole lot of difference. It was a dominance performance that didn't always feature the football but there is previous there where they have bent the rules a little bit to get these fine margins of success in their favour and if they've done it this time they're stupid because they would have won that game anyway."
Super Bowls in the past have been won via the tights of margins so where does Reynolds feel the game between Seahawks and Patriots will be won and lost?
"I'm looking towards LeGarrette Blount who could be key but I don't think the Patriots will try and run on Seattle very much," the broadcaster added. "Although that sounds bizarre because it is Seattle that are number one pass defence, I think we will see Brady try and engage their pass rush with a lot of quick passes, a lot of quick throws.
"I'm fascinated to see what New England can do in the middle of the field weather that is through the trickery and movement of Julian Edelman or if it's the brute force of Rob Gronkowski who was obviously not a factor the last time they were in the Super Bowl.
"Last year early on Seattle put on a bit of a pounding on Denver's Jullius Thomas down the middle and i don't think they will be able to intimidate Blount and Gronkowski in the same way. I'm fascinated there to see the battle between the New England passing attack and the Seahawks defence."
As well as the football on the field the Super Bowl is surrounded by the razzmatazz of the half–time show which Katie Perry will be performing this year, but it isn't something Sky Sports NFL expert is too keen on.
"I'm going to sound like a right old boring git," he continued. "I have no interest in the half–time show, last year they came to me in the stadium and asked me what I thought and I didn't know what to say I don't really follow music, I told them I like the fireworks.
"I'm sure it will be good this year, they always put on a good show and it is a good way of attracting new fans to the sport so I understand its value, but for me it's usually a good chance to nip to the loo if I'm honest."
Who does Reynolds think will be lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the early hours of Monday morning?
"I'm struggling because this is really tough to call this game. If you sat here and told me to make an argument for why Seattle Seahawks are going to win I could easily do that.
"If you told me to make an argument for why Tom Brady wins his fourth Super Bowl I can easily do that as well. There is literally nothing between these two teams, it is going to be a fascinating chess match as much as anything.
"I think coaching is really going to come to a fore in this game, I think it's going to be about the mental side of the game as much as the physicality but I think Seattle are pretty special on defence, there's not going to be more than a touch down in it, but if i'm forced to pick a winner I will go with Seattle."
Super Bowl XLIX is live on Sky Sports 1 from 10pm on Sunday 1 February.