Beyond the Bison, Sports news across the nation: Face Off

Julian Dorey, Senior Writer

Let’s make a few things clear: I don’t care about “deflategate.” In fact, I am sick of deflategate. Deflategate did not cheat the Colts out of a 45-7 embarrassment. Deflategate is the most overblown “story” (which is a sick joke in and of itself to even label it as such) I’ve seen since Brett Favre composed his own ESPN-overdriven symphony in the summer of ’08.

I am done with it. Not addressing it. Instead, I’ve long moved on to bigger and better things like the monster matchup we have in front of us this Sunday, Feb. 1.

Hawks-Pats. Brady v. Legion of Boom. Wilson v. Revis. The two best coaches of this era squaring-off with a dynasty (Carroll) and the finishing touch to a historic resume (Belichick) on the line.

I didn’t expect the Seahawks to blow the doors off Peyton Manning and the Broncos last year—but I know the Patriots aren’t laying an egg. It’s simply not in Brady and Belichick’s nature. They rarely lose big in the post-season (when they do lose). The only runaway-losses that come to mind are their January ’06 loss to the Broncos and their January ’11 loss to the Ravens. In those cases, the ’05 and ’10 Patriots teams were without a doubt the two worst Patriots rosters to compete in the postseason over Belichick’s 15-year reign.

This year?  They’ve been dynamite. After an awful start to the season brought on ridiculous, unfounded media overreaction—including stories about Tom Brady and the Patriots finally preparing to part ways—the steady boys from New England went on a rampage to finish the season 12-4 and atop the league. Their playoff run has been equally as impressive with a gutsy win over the always-tough Ravens—and an absolute drubbing of the new era’s best young quarterback, Andrew Luck.

Flat balls or pumped balls, the right team is representing the AFC.

On the other side, we have the loudest, hungriest, tightest great NFL team in memory. The Seahawks play to the tune of their passionate, up-beat, understanding, and motivational leader, Pete Carroll. After heading to college football following a failed three year run with the very Patriots franchise he is now facing, Carroll rung in the greatest era in USC’s prestigious history—winning two national titles, appearing in another, and routinely churning out NFL stud after NFL stud.

After jumping back to the biggest stage football has to offer, Carroll simply picked up right where he left off taking a previously-lifeless Seattle team and turning them into perennial contenders.  In addition to his player-friendly, systemic-perfection coaching style, much of Carroll’s success has to be attributed to his tremendous draft track record (along with GM John Schneider) and his willingness to embrace eccentric personalities considered to be troublesome by many around the league like Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman.

Carroll drafted players like Bruce Irvin (a highly criticized selection at the time), Bobby Wagner (a second-round question-mark according to most experts), Russell Wilson (“he’s too small,” said everyone), and Richard Sherman (“He played wide receiver for most of college. How can you draft him to play corner?” was the popular tune after his selection).

None of the criticism has mattered. Carroll has taken players like that (and many others) and created a dominant team led by one of the most even-keel quarterbacks I’ve ever seen (Wilson) and a defense that probably collectively punishes inanimate objects off the field because it “feels right.”

Seattle already won one Super Bowl in the most convincing fashion imaginable last season. The opportunity to claim another at the hands of Belichick and Brady would surely cement them in football lore forever. Back-to-back years of beating arguably the two greatest quarterbacks of all time (Manning and Brady)? Can you imagine?

Well, yeah. They’re only one game away from doing just that.

Get ready for a dogfight this weekend. These two squads have been on an unquestioned collision course almost all year.

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