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Expect Seahawks To 'Control The Game' In Super Bowl XLIX

With the hype almost over, the Seahawks say they're ready to take on the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel is in Glendale, Arizona, for Super Bowl XLIX.

Enough Of 'Deflategate' And Beast Mode Drama

Art says after all the buildup this week, he's ready for the game.

"'Deflategate' is behind us, or at least pushed to the side," he said. "The investigator in charge said it's going to be weeks before any resolution is going to happen." The Patriots are being investigated for under-inflated balls during the AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts.

"We're also behind the Marshawn Lynch interview brouhahas," Art said. "He did his third and final one on Thursday."

And he actually had some strong words for the media: "It don't matter what ya'll think, what y'all say about me," Lynch told reporters, "'cause when I go home at night, the same people that I look in the face, my family that I love, that's all that really matters to me."

That was different than the statement he repeated nearly 30 times earlier in the week: "I'm here so I don't get fined."

Nice Forecast

Art is thankful this year's game is in sunny Arizona, and not the snow-laden Northeast like last year.

"If you remember a year ago in New York/New Jersey, they had a deep freeze prior to the game. They had a snowstorm after the game but they lucked into a 49-degree day at kickoff. It's supposed to be in the 60s here Sunday.

"So, we've got no excuses. We've got no controversies. The game, in fact, will be played."

Injury Update

Two Seahawks were injured during the NFC championship game. Earl Thomas suffered a separated shoulder. Richard Sherman has a hyper-extended elbow and some torn ligaments. But Art says they both "seemed healthy" during practice this week. 

"I don't think they're ever going to be 100 percent for this game, but I do think they're going to be efficient and they're going to be able do most of what they need to do," Art said. "I'm sure Tom Brady is aware of their health situation but, hey, even he has a cold."

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll reported that all 53 players are healthy enough to practice during the week, which Art calls "remarkable."

"If no one gets hurt between now and Sunday the Seahawks will be as healthy as they've been at any time during the season," Art said. 

So? Who Will Win?

So how do the two teams stack up? Art says there's one Super Bowl statistic that leaps out to him. 

"Ten times in the Super Bowl's 48 years, the team with the No. 1-rated defense in the regular season has been in the game and they've lost only once — in 1982 when a labor stoppage reduced the season to nine games," Art said. "That tells you something about how important defense is in the Super Bowl. We saw it last year with the Seahawks against Denver. They came in with the No. 1 defense against the No. 1 offense and clobbered them 43-8."

Art sees the same sort of pattern prevailing with Sundays' game.

"I don't think the margin is going to be as great, but I do see the Seahawks controlling the game — maybe not at the start because they often don't do that at the start," Art said. "But I do see them being able to corral tight end Rob Gronkowski and being able to stymie quarterback Tom Brady.

"I think it's going to be Super Bowl [win] number two for the Seahawks about 26-21."

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You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between historylink.org and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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