Ladies and gentlemen, the Seattle Seahawks.
Most dislikable Super Bowl team ever?
A cheerleader head coach. That “12th Man” thing, clearly stolen from Aggieland. Five drug suspensions since 2011, and a sixth that was overturned on a wimpy technicality.
And in the early minutes following Sunday’s victory in the NFC title game, there was Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, the first postgame FOX interview ever to bite the head off a live bat.
Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. The Super Bowl-bound Seahawks are just getting started.
What a contrast of ... uh ... personalities this is going to be. The Denver Broncos, AFC champions, quarterbacked by Buick-driving, pizza-loving Peyton Manning.
The Broncos’ operations vice president is the iconic John Elway. Their head coach, John Fox, continues on despite having a heart procedure performed in midseason.
Denver had a 13-3 record during the regular season, yet the Broncos seemed to find a comfortable niche in America’s hearts as Sunday’s underdogs. Facing the New England juggernaut of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady automatically comes with vast troves of electoral votes.
And Manning did not disappoint this time, passing for 400 yards and thoroughly outshining Brady in Denver’s 26-16 victory.
Over the next two weeks, we will hear a lot from Manning, and Peyton seldom disappoints when he’s answering questions. In the buildup to Super Bowl XLVIII, we’re certain to hear about Peyton’s famous dad, about his two-time Super Bowl-winning brother and about the cervical fusion surgery that almost ended his career two years ago.
Better ingredients, better players ... the Denver Broncos. Or however that pizza commercial goes.
At the other end of the Super Bowl pentagram, meanwhile, will be the Seahawks, team No. 666 in your souvenir program.
The suspensions for performance-enhancing substances are all true, though accused Seattle players have claimed that their drug of choice was Adderall. That was Sherman’s story, at least, before his appeal weaved a confusing web about the tester having too many plastic cups in the lavatory.
Nobody knows exactly what the suspended Seahawks took, because the details of their failed tests are protected by the league’s substance abuse policy. Adderall, more commonly used to treat ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is permitted by the NFL with a proper prescription.
Oops, the players said, they forgot to get a prescription. Yeah, that’s it.
The effects of Adderall on a finely conditioned athlete are unknown. But if the postgame Sherman was any example Sunday, his doctor needs to downgrade him to chicken soup.
Nothing against mouthy, trash-talking professional football players. They seem to crop up in growing numbers these days.
But, Richard — why so mad? You’re going to the Super Bowl.
In New York, Seattle coach Pete Carroll is sure to be grilled about his oh-so-cheery sideline demeanor, his ongoing feud with Jim Harbaugh and his utter failure as the Patriots’ one-time coach. Inquiring minds are also going to want to know why a college coach in Southern California, where five-star recruits grow on lemon trees, felt he had to pay for players.
The Seahawks also won’t have their notorious homefield advantage in the Meadowlands. Let me suggest that without the constant din of their home crowd — their so-called “12th Man” — the Seahawks on a neutral field would have lost either of their two final games. So there’s that.
Just as every Super Bowl needs someone to embrace (Manning), it also needs a villain.
Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for Richard Sherman and the Seahawks.