When the Denver Broncos battle the Seattle Seahawks for the pigskin at MetLife Stadium Feb. 2, the game will be historic for more reasons than football. With both teams hailing from the only two states in the country (or world for that matter) that have legalized marijuana for recreational use this year, Super Bowl XLVII is already being dubbed the Marijuana Bowl. It’s being used as a rallying call for wider marijuana legalization. But besides the whole stoner fantasy angle, there are some other interesting facts associated with this year’s match-up. Here are 10 Super Bowl trivia about the Bronco-Seahawk matchup.
For fans of marijuana legalization, this is huge. Teams from the only two places in the world to legalize marijuana will battle it out for the pigskin in the Big Apple. President Barack Obama’s interview in “The New Yorker” magazine stated he thought marijuana to be “no more dangerous than alcohol.”
There is a serious element to the whole pot joke theme of this year’s Super Bowl, however. The National Organization to the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is hoping to use it to send a message to the NFL that promoting alcohol and beer commercials as the safe choice over toking a different kind of bud is wrong. As a backstory, last fall, NORML entered the Intuit Super Bowl Ad Contest, but despite taking first place in the first round, was denied entry into the finals.
It has been 15 years since the Broncos made it to the Super Bowl. The last time was in 1999 and was a similarly matched game. Held on Jan 31, 1999 in Miami, Super Bowl XXXIII pitted the Broncos against the Atlanta Falcons. Both were the No. 1 seeds in their division. Denver won 34-19. It was their second Super Bowl victory. The first came just a year before, in 1998, when Denver beat the Green Bay Packers 31-24 in San Diego. Both teams were the No. 1 seeds in their division at the time. The Broncos’ first Super Bowl appearance was in 1978 when they lost to the Dallas Cowboys.
When the Broncos won their last Super Bowl they were aided by another legendary quarterback, John Elway, who is also famous for being a star player in his 30s in a sport dominated by 20-somethings. Elway was 38 when he won the Super Bowl, and became the oldest player ever to be named a Super Bowl most valuable player. When Peyton Manning replaced Tim Tebow after the 2011 season, Denver fans worried he was too old, at 36, for a comeback. They were wrong. If he wins this year, he’ll be the same age as Elway during the Bronco’s first victory — perhaps history repeats itself.
This will be Peyton Manning’s third Super Bowl. The previous two were with Indianapolis Colts – they won in 2007 against the Chicago Bears. This year’s game is being played at the New York Giants stadium in Meadowlands, N.J. It’s the team that Manning’s older brother, Eli Manning, plays for.
The teams haven’t played each other in more than three years, excluding pre-season games. They last played each other at Denver’s Mile High Stadium on Sept. 19, 2010. Denver won 31-14. That was the same season the Seahawks made history by becoming the first team in NFL history to make it into the playoffs with a losing (7-9) seasonal record. This will be the Seahawks’ second Super Bowl attempt. Their first appearance was in 2006 when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The last time Broncos star quarterback Peyton Manning played against a team coached by the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll was in 1999, when Carroll was the New England Patriots head coach. Coincidentally this was the same year the Broncos last played in the Super Bowl – they beat the Patriots 34-19. It was their second consecutive Super Bowl win. And in 2014, it was the Patriots’ AFC championship game loss (26-10) that advanced the Broncos to the Super Bowl!
The big game will be played at MetLife stadium in New Jersey. Both teams have played there and won this season. On Sept. 15 Denver beat the New York Giants 41-23. Exactly two months later, on Dec. 15, the Seahawks shut out the Giants by the exact number of points they’d scored against the Broncos — 23-0. Weirdly, the Super Bowl will be played at the Giants’ home stadium, MetLife, in Meadowlands, N.J.
Both teams were the No. 1 seeds in their divisions, meaning the game should be well matched. According to ESPN, the Seahawks allowed the fewest yards (273.6 per game) and fewest points (14.4) in the regular season but the Broncos scored the most yards (457.3) and points (37.9) per game.
Both the Broncos and Seahawks are the only teams in their geographic regions and therefore share a multi-state fan base. Since New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho all don’t have their own NFL teams, residents of the Rocky Mountain, Southwest and Pacific Northwest states tend to support either Denver or Seattle.