1. Bucs

Key story lines in this year's Super Bowl

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick have a chance to win their fourth Super Bowl together.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick have a chance to win their fourth Super Bowl together.
Published Jan. 25, 2015

TAMPA — Stay tuned for a few more episodes of PSI New England, but, first, the super sleuths will have to yield so Super Bowl XLIX can be played.

Although the game of inches has become a game of pounds per square inch, the NFL's biggest showcase game in Glendale, Ariz., next Sunday could be a great one.

It's a rare title matchup between the historically great Seattle Seahawks' defense and the Patriots' Tom Brady, one of the most accomplished quarterbacks ever.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is a genius but hasn't won a Super Bowl since 2007's Spygate, when his team was found to have taped opponent's defensive signals. Meanwhile, the Seahawks could become the first team to win back-to-back world championships since, well, the Patriots did it 10 years ago.

Here's a look at some of the best story lines surrounding Super Bowl XLIX:

The legacy Super Bowl

For the winner, it becomes the most significant line on its resume.

The Patriots dynamic duo of Belichick and Brady have a chance to win their elusive fourth Super Bowl and their first in the post-Spygate era. Brady would join Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only QBs with four NFL title rings, but he tops them both with six Super Bowl appearances.

The Patriots need to win this Super Bowl more than ever, especially amid the NFL's investigation that revealed 11 of their 12 footballs used in the first half of Sunday's AFC Championship Game were two PSI under the legal limit.

Last season, the Seahawks knocked off the Broncos' Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl. If they defeat Brady, that's taking down arguably the two greatest quarterbacks in this era in back-to-back NFL title games. It would cement their legacy as one of the best defenses of all time.

"I believe we already have" become great, linebacker K.J. Wright said. "But for us to do it and win a Super Bowl again, back-to-back, you can't look past us. If we win, people are going to remember us as one of the greatest."

Re-Pete Carroll

Some may have forgotten Pete Carroll was the Patriots head coach for three seasons, reaching the playoffs twice. He went 10-6 in his first season and lost to the Steelers in the conference semifinals in Pittsburgh. The Patriots were 9-7 in 1998 before injuries contributed to a 25-10 wild-card loss at Jacksonville. Carroll was fired after the Pats went 8-8 in '99 and replaced by Belichick.

At 63, Carroll is the second-oldest coach in the NFL, but his youthful exuberance is contagious and the polar opposite of the hooded, dour Belichick. Both are demanding, highly motivated winners.

"That's a nice comparison, and one that I'm happy to see," Carroll said. "Whether you throw it or run it, it's the fundamentals of this game. I'd like to think we're fighting for the same thing. In terms of focus and intensity, I think we're very similar in that regard. I would like to think we are."

Sherman vs. Revis

Darrelle Revis, who was released by the Bucs before the season, is completely back from his torn left ACL. He could reclaim his title as the best cornerback on the planet with a great performance Sunday. Right now that distinction belongs to Sherman, already a Super Bowl champion in sound bites. Sherman's hyperextended elbow will be a big story this week, but he insists he's playing.

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The one-time budding rivalry has transformed into a mutual admiration society. Revis Island still is an inhospitable place for receivers. It would be paradise found if he wins his first championship ring.

"Everything is surreal right now," Revis said.

Is Russell Wilson a franchise QB?

At 5-foot-11, he has been told he's short. He runs around too much. He had a really tough year. In April he announced he and his wife were divorcing, he did too many commercials, he got off to a 3-3 start, an anonymous teammate told Bleacher Report he's not "black enough."

Certainly, Wilson is not the main reason the Seahawks win, but two Super Bowl appearances in three years tells you he's special. His emotional reaction to the comeback overtime win over Green Bay in the NFC Championship made the always-in-control Wilson seem more human.

Brady deserves a monument, having already earned a spot on the Mount Passmore of NFL quarterbacks. Beating Manning and Brady in back-to-back Super Bowls will vault Wilson to an elite status.

It's an ex-Bucs life

You can't throw a deflated football in Super Bowl XLIX without hitting an ex-Buc. You know about Revis. Tight end Tim Wright and linebacker Jonathan Casillas were traded to the Pats. LeGarrette Blount, who was dealt to the Steelers several years ago, had to get kicked off the team earlier this season to find his way to the Super Bowl.

The Seahawks' best defensive lineman, Michael Bennett, left the Bucs via free agency a few years ago. That was so the Bucs' defensive line bust, Da'Quan Bowers, could take over unopposed at left end. Are they bitter? Or just better off for parting ways?


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