How the refs treat the Seahawks tough defense in the Superb Owl looms as the single largest concern at this stage as a Seahawks fan. So far Seattle's grinding defense has faired reasonably well under the zebras in these 2013 NFL Playoffs, with the referees "letting them play," an approach that honest Seahawk supporters will admit clearly benefited Seattle. Both the Saints and the 49ers, generally speaking, basked in the same reasonable zebra influence this series, their play remaining un-blanketed by what in today's game has become far-too-familiar: the loathsomely tight penalty approach.
But the Seahawks depend far more on their brutal, trench war defense than many if not all other teams in this year's NFL. Making use the incredible depth that the Hawks have amassed on the defensive squad over the last 3 years to swap out defenders all the way through to end of the 4th quarter, Pete Carroll's philosophy in motion here has clearly ground many offenses into ineffective components of confusion, inaccuracy, fear and exhaustion.
Kam Chancellor hits among the hardest, but Seattle fans at least believe that these are fair hits, on the whole. The holds that Sherm and others get away with routinely represent a part of today's NFL, whether the niner fans like it or not. It's not that Seattle's game is illegal under the NFL rules. Whether that game is allowed to be played, or not, remains the stinking question in the room with the diarrhetic elephant.
But think about the national narrative in this game. It's golden-boy Peyton versus the evil Richard Sherman and the rough, bullying Seattle Seahawks. Don't you think there's a good chance the refs will let Peyton "get his" in this epic matchup of the best offense towering up on the most gnarly defense? We all know the fine Broncos receiving corps are not prepared for the Legion of Boom and the inevitable hits they'll sustain vis-à-vis Seattle's devastating linebackers. That piece figures to play pretty ugly on a national stage. Does the NFL want this ugly?
I will submit that the NFL wants some ugly. The question is how much. Here's looking forward to what many believe will be the best Superb Owl in decades.
And refs, arbitrate, but don't be arbitrary.