Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

A Casual Guide to the Super Bowl

In case you forgot, the high holy day of the American sporting calendar is on Sunday. Super Bowl XLVIII will feature the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks in New Jersey. While the nutcases (read: hardcore fans) like us at Student Life Sports are finely in-tune with the storylines behind the big game, we understand that not everyone cares as much as we do. With that, we present the answers to five Super Bowl-related questions you may be afraid to ask others in public.

What is all of this commotion about Richard Sherman?

Dean Rutz | Seattle Times | MCT

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman made a game-saving deflection against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, but he stirred up some controversy during a postgame interview by calling out a 49ers receiver. “I’m the best corner in the game,” Sherman shouted. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you going to get.” People criticized Sherman for putting himself before the team and for unnecessarily calling out an opposing player on national television while others did not believe it was fair to judge Sherman’s actions in an interview that happened a mere 30 seconds after he made the biggest play of his life. Since then, Sherman has apologized for his actions, but it should be an entertaining postgame interview on Sunday, regardless of whether the Seahawks win or lose. ­­­—Nick Kauzlarich

What’s the deal with the 12th Man in Seattle?

This is the term for the home crowd the Seahawks enjoy at CenturyLink Field that has gained particular notoriety for causing earthquakes to register in the Seattle area due to fan noise. The term itself is derived from the fact that each team is allowed only 11 players on the field at a time, and the support of the home crowd is equivalent to having an extra player on the field (i.e. home-field advantage). Most people don’t know, however, that the term “12th Man” is actually trademarked by Texas A&M University, and the folks down in Aggie-land allow the Seahawks to use the phrase in exchange for $5,000 each year. Seattle fans also owe some of the noisiness to the design of their home stadium, where the design of the roof and seating arrangements amplify noise and funnel it back to the field. But the Super Bowl takes place on a neutral field, so it will be interesting to see if the 12th Man survives the cross-country trek to the Meadowlands. ­­­—Sahil Patel

Jose Carlos Fajardo | Bay Area News Group | MCT
Peyton Manning has played in Super Bowls before. Why is this year such a big deal?

Many believe that Manning needs to win this Super Bowl to cement his legacy and place himself in the all-time great quarterback ranks. Many of the best quarterbacks in NFL history have won more than one championship: Tom Brady has won three, John Elway won two and Joe Montana won four. In his two Super Bowl appearances, Manning won against the Chicago Bears led by Rex Grossman in 2006 and lost in 2009 against Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints. Taking on the 13-3 Seahawks this time, Manning will be challenged with the top-ranked defense in the league. If he manages to win, he could silence critics who have called him “the greatest regular-season quarterback” and become a legitimate contender as the greatest quarterback ever to play the game.  —Nick Kauzlarich

Peyton Manning just said Omaha! What does that mean?

Peyton Manning is using this word in games in order to communicate with his offensive line about the snap count and trick defenses into revealing their disguised formation or jumping offsides. The word caught the media’s attention during the divisional round of the playoffs, when Manning tricked the San Diego Chargers’ defense into multiple offsides penalties. Five companies in Omaha showed their appreciation for Manning’s signal during the AFC Championship Game by donating $500 to Manning’s PeyBack Foundation each time he shouted the city’s name. Omaha has also been used by other high-profile quarterbacks for similar reasons, including the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and the New York Giant’s Eli Manning (Peyton’s brother). —Derek Shyr

Why is Marshawn Lynch getting pelted with Skittles in the end zone?

The story goes that when the Seattle Seahawks’ running back was growing up, his mom would give him Skittles before games, calling them his “power pellets.” Twenty-seven years of classical conditioning later, fans will throw Skittles onto the field after each Lynch touchdown. A few seasons ago, Fox captured Lynch’s enthusiasm perfectly with a sideline shot of a coach pouring a bag into Lynch’s hands as a big smile lights up the latter’s face. Skittles signed an endorsement deal with Lynch earlier this week and will sell limited-edition candies in blue and green (Seahawks colors). – Sahil Patel

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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878