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Countdown to Super Bowl XLVIII kickoff

Posted Feb 2, 2014

The entire week has been all about this, just as the entire season has been leading to this. It’s finally game day, as the Seahawks will face the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Greetings from MetLife Stadium where, well, you know what’s about to happen.

To borrow a line from Hank Williams, Jr.: Are you ready for some football?

The Seahawks definitely are. As much as they’ve enjoyed (Richard Sherman) and endured (Marshawn Lynch) the intense and at-times intrusive glare of the Super Bowl spotlight this week, the players are ready for what they came here to do – meet, and beat, the AFC Champion Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

The team’s 12th Man fans also are out in force, by growing numbers as this Super Bowl week has progressed. On the 17-block walk to and from the last Path stop in Manhattan to Radio City on Saturday night to cover Walter Jones’ election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Seahawk fans were so thick it prompted one question: Is there anyone left in Seattle?

Back at The Westin Jersey City, the team hotel, the lobby turned into an impromptu alumni reunion.

There were members of the 35th Anniversary team – defensive end Jacob Green, nose tackle Joe Nash, strong safety Kenny Easley, running back Shaun Alexander and the Hall of Fame duo of Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy.

There were members of the original Seahawks team from 1976 – quarterback Jim Zorn, wide receiver Steve Raible, Largent and running back Sherman Smith, now the team’s running backs coach; as well as Rhonda Brown, the widow of cornerback Dave Brown.

There were members of the Seahawks’ first playoff team from 1983 – quarterback Dave Krieg, safety Paul Moyer, Largent, Green, Nash, Easley and wide receiver Paul Johns, now the team’s assistant director of fan development.

There were members of the Seahawks’ 2005 Super Bowl team – Alexander, defensive tackle Craig Terrill, linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski and free safety Marquand Manuel, who’s now a member of Pete Carroll’s coaching staff. Fullback Mack Strong, who was on the 2005 team and the 35th Anniversary team, was in the audience at Radio City to share Jones’ Hall of Fame moment.

There also were former players who fit into none of the above categories – quarterbacks Warren Moon and Sam Adkins, linebacker Dave Wyman and fullback Heath Evans.

As for the current team, the routine has been business as usual. The season-long talk about every week being a championship opportunity and trying to go 1-0 each week that sounded cliché and has been mocked by the national media continues to be the players’ mindset. And that’s a good thing, because that’s why the team is here on the sport’s biggest stage.

Of all the words that flowed from all the mouths in all the media sessions this week, leave it to Russell Wilson to deliver the time-capsule assessment for this special moment in time – and franchise history.

“Respect the journey,” the Seahawks’ second-year quarterback said. “But at the same time, enjoy the moment. Take it all in. It is real. Just be poised and respect the process. I’m going to play with a smile on my face and just go for it.”

If you are one of the fans still in Seattle, or a 12th Man wherever you are, enjoy what’s about to unfold. Kickoff and televised coverage on FOX (Q/13 in Seattle) is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PT.

Sunday Showdown: Seahawks FS Earl Thomas vs Broncos QB Peyton Manning

It might be impossible for either to show the other something on Sunday they haven’t already seen. That’s because the respective games of Thomas and Manning are rooted in their preparation that begins long before the game. If either has done anything that was captured on video – which is everything they’ve done – the other has dissected it. Especially with two weeks to prepare for this game.

On one side of the ball will be Thomas, who’s only 24 but already had been an All-Pro twice and also voted to three Pro Bowls. He is the centerfielder, and metronome by which the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense beats.

On the other side will be Manning, who’s 37 and was named league MVP for a fifth time on Saturday night. His pre-snap routine has become the stuff of legend, and his post-snap performance record-setting. The bridge between this generational gap is that the one who can “get” the other the most times likely will lead his team to victory.

Numbers to know

2: 300-yard passing games allowed by the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense this season – 335 by the Texans’ Matt Schaub in a Week 4 overtime game and 309 by the Saints’ Drew Brees in the divisional playoff game; both Seahawk victories.

13: 300-yard passing games by Broncos quarterback and league MVP Peyton Manning this season, including five 400-yard games.