Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, a Folkston native and former Georgia standout, adjusts his helmet during a practice session in preparation for Sunday's Super Bowl at Medlife Stadium. (Special: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters)
Super Bowl XLVIII
Who: Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks
When, where: Sunday, at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Kickoff: 6:25 p.m.
Players’ share: Winning team gets $92,000 per player, losing team gets $46,000 per player.
Georgia Connection: Denver — CB Champ Baily (Folkston, UGA), RB Knowshon Moreno (UGA), WR Damaryius Thomas (Montrose, Georgia Tech). Seattle — DE Chris Clemons (Griffin, UGA), WR Ricardo Lockette (Albany, Fort Valley State).
The hype is over, now it’s time for Seattle and Denver to settle who is the best team in the NFL.
Super Bowl XLVIII will take centerstage on Sunday at Metlife Stadium for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
“It’s the pinnacle for probably everybody who does what we do,” Denver Broncos coach John Fox in a press conference. “You take individuals and try to paint a picture of where you want to get to it. This is the pinnacle of it. Like any level of football, there’s only one happy camper at the end.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll agreed.
“The trophy really does symbolize the ultimate challenge in coaching and our profession,” he said. “It symbolizes a tremendous amount to all of us.”
Although there are no players from the Southern Crescent playing in the game, there will be a Georgia connection. There are five players from the state on the rosters. The closet player to an area connection is Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons, who played at Griffin before his college career at Georgia.
Other former Bulldog players include cornerback Champ Baily and running back Knownshon Moreno, who both play for the Broncos. Also, former Georgia Tech standout receiver Demaryius Thomas starts for the Broncos, who will be seeking the franchise’s third Super Bowl title.
Beside Clemons, the other Georgia connection for the Seahawks is wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, who is an Albany native and former player at Division II Fort Valley State.
All eyes will be on the quarterback matchup between Peyton Manning of Denver and Seattle’s Russell Wilson. Manning will be trying to win his second NFL championship in what is surely been a Hall of Fame career. The former Tennessee standout won a title with the Indianapolis Colts.
Manning completed 72.2 percent of his passes in the first two playoff games for the Broncos.
Russell has been equally as impressive as he passed for 3,357 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushed for 539 more yards and a touchdown during the regular season.
Another major factor will be the weather as this will be the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold weather environment.
At the end of the day, it’s a team game,” Fox said. “I remind everybody that there’s three phases of the game and my experience, in whether it’s been one of these games or any big spot, is who executes the best and who performs the best.”
Reuters News Service contributed to this report.