Football, advertisements, predictions for the Superbowl

A large portion of America will watch football for the first time all season next Sunday as Superbowl XLVIII airs. Never fear, uninformed viewer — The Tartan is here to make sure you have at least some idea about what is happening.

The Football

The game features the Seattle Seahawks against the Denver Broncos. Both finished with the top seed in their respective conferences and had home field advantage through the playoffs up until this point.

The Seahawks are a primarily defensive team. Led by their hard-hitting secondary, the Seahawks are a suffocating team that embodies the defense-wins-championships mentality. Pro-Bowl Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman became the face of the team last week when he was interviewed right after the Seahawks’ win over their rivals, the San Francisco 49ers.

Sherman shouted: “I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get! Don’t you ever talk about me.” This interview came on the heels of Sherman deflecting a potentially game-winning touchdown pass aimed at 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree for a game-clinching interception.

Sherman’s play and antics have further overshadowed the consistent, yet unimpressive play of the Seahawks offense. Led by running back Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch, the Seahawks consistently pound the football, focusing on ball control more than long touchdown throws. Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson has not put up the gaudy numbers of his draft class peers Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffen III. Instead, he acts as more of a protector of the football, waiting for the right moment to burst out with a long play by improvising with his legs and accurate arm.

The one ace in the hole for the Seahawks is the return of wide receiver Percy Harvin. Acquired from the Minnesota Vikings for a first-round pick this past offseason, Harvin has seen very limited playing time since sustaining a variety of injuries over the course of the season. However, his speed remains unmatched in the league, so expect to see Harvin running all over the field on Sunday trying to make things difficult for the Broncos.

The Broncos are the perfect foil for the Seahawks, relying heavily on their high-flying offense for most of their wins. Quarterback Peyton Manning had the greatest statistical season of any passer in NFL history, setting the record for most touchdowns and most passing yardage. With a variety of weapons — all-pro wideouts Demarius Thomas, Erin Decker, and Wes Welker, along with breakout star, tight end Julius Thomas — it is nearly impossible to fully cover all of Manning’s targets on any given play. When combined with the two-headed running game of running back Knowshon Moreno and rookie running back Montee Ball, containing the Denver offense is no easy task.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos still have a top-10 unit more than capable of stopping the pass and the run. Large defensive tackle Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton looks to play a large role in containing Lynch and forcing Wilson to beat the Broncos with his arm and not his running ability. The loss of all-pro linebacker Von Miller to a torn ACL has certainly hurt the squad, but backup Danny Trevathan has done a tremendous job filling in for him.

The Halftime Show

The Super Bowl halftime show is a huge guarantee for media exposure, which is why superstar artists are willing to perform for little to no pay. This year Grammy Award-winner Bruno Mars was tapped to perform in front of the world’s largest television audience. We can look forward to huge sets and visual effects as Mars sings with guest performers Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The biggest point of intrigue surrounding the halftime show, other than the set list, will be the impact of the weather. With the Super Bowl being hosted in an open-roofed stadium in New Jersey in the beginning of February, there is no guarantee of good weather and a possibility of freezing temperatures and precipitation. Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers both traditionally perform in large, indoor venues, so their adaptation to the cold will be interesting to watch.

The Ads

The final piece of the Super Bowl viewing experience is the ads. With a 30-second advertisement spot costing around $4 million, advertisers go out of their way to make sure they have an impact and stay with their audience. In the past, some of the best advertisements have been from Doritos, which uses fan submissions with a million-dollar prize for the winners, and beer companies who fully understand who their primary demographic is.

But not all Super Bowl advertising has to cost a lot of money. During last year’s power outage, Oreo tweeted a picture referencing the blackout. This tweet went viral as people wanted to share the humorous and timely picture with friends and family. This tweet was marked as one of the most successful social marketing images of the year, and gained as much, if not more, exposure from the Super Bowl than the companies that paid millions of dollars for 30 seconds of air time.

Prop Bets

To help keep you interested during the game, here is a list of fun prop bets you and your friends can wager on and count throughout the game. A prop bet is an over-under guess on generally trivial things, like how long the national anthem will be and how many yards a specific player will gain.

Times Peyton Manning yells OMAHA while on the field: 12

Minutes after the game it takes Richard Sherman to turn from hyped up football player to well-spoken Stanford Graduate: 10

Microphones shoved in Sherman's face during this cool down period: 5

Shots of Peyton Manning's younger brother Eli Manning in the stands: 4

Times Skittles are referenced with Marshawn Lynch: 3

Inches of snow on the ground during the game: 2

Temperature at kickoff: 28˚F

Random guests that show up during the Halftime Show: 3

Advertisements that try and be hip by referencing months-old viral hits like "Harlem Shake"" or "The Fox": 5