Scott Says

Fowler: New York set to weather dire predictions

sfowler@charlotteobserver.comFebruary 1, 2014 

— Oh, the weather outside is ... not too bad, actually.

Although it could always change at the last minute, fears of the Super Bowl’s demise because of severe winter storms look like they will turn out to be unfounded.

Sunday’s game will certainly be cold for the fans who are paying, on average, a couple thousand bucks per seat to watch it in person (and $14 more for a beer, according to USA Today). But the game-time temperature will likely be in the 30s, and there is not much chance of precipitation.

Denver coach John Fox likes to say his team is “weatherproof” and remind people that the Broncos aren’t from Miami and know how to play in the cold. But if there is indeed no rain or snow, that should help the Broncos a little given that they throw the ball far more than Seattle does.

•  Seattle’s No. 1 defense vs. Denver’s No. 1 offense will be the glitzy matchup in this game, but watch out for an unsung star to emerge on special teams. And there will be one more factor that may vary a few kicks: the wind swirls a lot in MetLife stadium.

•  Talk about landing on your feet. Remember Sione Fua?

The Panthers drafted the defensive tackle in the third round of the 2011 draft. He never made much of an impact, starting 11 games as a rookie and one more in 2012 but never getting a sack or a fumble recovery in his time at Carolina.

The Panthers gave up on him this year, waiving him for good on Nov. 12. But Denver picked him up two weeks later after sustaining some injuries. Fua has played in five games for the Broncos and will get a Super Bowl ring if the Broncos win Sunday (although it’s quite possible he will be declared inactive for the game itself).

“Both the Panthers’ and Broncos’ locker rooms were really good,” Fua said. “When I got to Denver, everyone was really welcoming. I could tell there was a lot of great veteran leadership.”

Fua said he still keeps up with his former Panthers teammates on the defensive line and was cheering for Carolina in the playoffs. He and Greg Hardy text back and forth frequently.

“That’s my guy,” Hardy said of Fua. “He works as hard as I do. He deserves this.”

•  I made this prediction immediately after the NFC and AFC Championship Games and I am sticking to it. I will take offense over defense in this one and am picking Denver over Seattle, 31-23.

Fowler: sfowler@charlotteobserver.com; Twitter: @scott_fowler

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