CBS’ Boomer Esiason, host of morning radio show Boomer & Carton, radio network broadcaster and analyst on NFL Today on CBS, gives Men’s Fitness the scoop on what to watch for during Super Bowl XLVIII. In addition to his devotion to football, Boomer supports another worthy cause: curing cystic fibrosis. His charity, the Boomer Esiason Foundation has raised more than $100 million in funds for finding a cure with watch company Breitling being its longest partner. Tune into Westwood One Radio Network for Boomer’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII and keep an eye out for Breitling’s high-quality timepieces.
1. Weather Will Matter
Weather plays a big role. This is something that we’re not used to in the NFL. Most of the time the Super Bowl is played in a warm-weather city or it’s played indoors. The thing you worry about with this Super Bowl is wind because MetLife Stadium is not a great place to throw the football on Nov. 1, let alone trying to do it on Feb. 2. If the wind is negligible and it stays above 20 degrees, then we have a neutral site where two of the best teams in football can have at it without an advantage one way or the other. If the wind's gusting 25-35 mph, then it’s definitely going to be an advantage for Seattle because they’re defense first and they don’t rely on the pass as much as Denver. It would be a tough Super Bowl for Peyton Manning under those conditions.
2. The Peyton Manning Journey
It will be Peyton Manning’s day and he’ll be a man on a mission. That mission will be to have the greatest single offense in the history of the NFL and take it from Week 1 to the conquest of the best defense in this year’s NFL in the most adverse conditions. He will have at least two touchdown passes and he'll be really salivating to throw against that defense. He could probably be the Super Bowl MVP.
3. The Russell Wilson Factor
Russell Wilson played better two weeks ago against San Francisco than he had the previous four or five weeks so maybe his game is rounding out to shape. Percy Harvin is going to play and he's a difference maker. If Percy Harvin can be what Michael Crabtree was for Colin Kaepernick at the right time, Wilson can have a huge game here. This is a game where you got to be able to throw the ball against Denver. You can’t always be worried about running the ball. He doesn’t have to match Peyton Manning pass for pass, but he better not turn it over and see a couple of touchdown passes from him.
4. Boomer’s Picks
If the weather is like I think it is going to be, Denver has a really great chance to win the game 27-24. If there is a wind element that is significant on Sunday, Feb. 2, then Seattle could win the game 24-20 because they're more defense orientated. It depends what the wind will be like come Super Bowl Sunday.
5. The Big Picture
The great the thing about this game to understand its significance is it’s the first outdoor Super Bowl in cold weather and of course we have the greatest passing offense the NFL has ever seen. Having to play in those conditions against the number one defense, if Peyton Manning is able to win this game, he will go down as one of the top-two greatest quarterbacks of all time.