There seems to be a growing consensus that cold and rain and snow – while not ideal –wouldn’t have much of an effect on Super Bowl XLVIII.
But wind? Oh yeah.
“It’s usually the toughest element, in my opinion, to deal with as a receiver,” former tight end and current CBS Network analyst Christian Fauria said on Ferrall on the Bench. “The snow is fine, the rain (by itself) is not a problem. You throw in the wind, and it’s just difficult because the ball is moving up and down. It looks like a knuckleball.
“Same with the quarterback. I don’t think Peyton Manning has a terribly strong arm. Sometimes his ball will literally just flitter up in the air and it has no spiral, but it ends up getting there. But it’s not like he has this cannon arm where he’s just drilling it to the receiver on a rope. No, he’s more about timing and touch and accuracy. But put him in a situation where there’s wind, and he’s not as effective.”
Fauria knows firsthand. He played 13 seasons in the NFL, including four for the Patriots (2002-05), with whom he won two Super Bowls. He’s seen Manning play in tough conditions.
“Just was not the same guy,” Fauria said. “The ball’s easy to intercept, he’d get those chattery feet because the receivers are a little slower – so I think it’s definitely, definitely an issue. The cold, anyone can man up one time. (But) the wind, man, it starts biting through your uniform, it starts biting at your skin – and all the vaseline and all the other gear you can put on to keep it out of there doesn’t work at all.”
It’ll be interesting to see the cat-and-mouse games that Manning and the Seahawks defense play with one another, but Fauria feels Seattle’s blueprint will be fairly simple.
“The most important thing is you’ve got to jam the receivers, you’ve got to slow them down and you got to make (Manning) get those happy feet,” Fauria said. “Once that happens, he’ll guess wrong or he’ll force a ball and you’ll get an interception.”
While Fauria had most of his success in New England, he actually began his career in Settle. Selected 39th overall in the 1995 NFL Draft, Fauria played seven seasons for the Seahawks – the team he’ll be rooting for this Sunday.
“It was one of those deals where we just never had any success,” Fauria said of his playing days in Seattle. “(The fan support) was not even close (to what) they have now. Right now, it’s unbelievable. Back then, all our (home) games were blacked out. They were never sold out. We played in the Kingdome. That was never sold out. It was never a home-field advantage like it is now. Now, it’s crazy. Back then, I was happy to get out of there because I just wanted to be on a winning team. I never knew I would have the success that I had with the Patriots. But I’ll tell you what: both teams – Denver and Seattle – have great fan bases.”