Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks is the Super Bowl this NFL season deserves

Superbowl Vince Lombardi Trophy

The Denver Broncos facing off against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, gives a thrilling NFL season the finale it deserves.

For one of the few times in the era of free agency and the salary cap, the two best teams in the league will do battle for its biggest prize.

The Broncos and Seahawks each own the season's best record at 13-3. They both dominated their respective conference to earn homefield advantage for the playoffs.

As much as underdog stories warm the heart, putting the best against the best is just how it should be. Too often in recent seasons, dream Super Bowl matchups have been wrecked by a late-peaking upstart.

Last season, it was the 10-6 Baltimore Ravens. The year before the 9-7 New York Giants barged their way into the mixer and spoiled the party.

But this season the two teams expected to contest the Lombardi trophy will do just that. Had either of the New England Patriots or San Francisco 49ers, each beaten in last Sunday's Championship Games, advanced, they would have rightfully been cast as spoilers.

The Broncos against the Seahawks is the dream match NFL fans can rally to. It is the ultimate clash of styles.

The collision between Seattle's league-leading defense and the most prolific offense in NFL history, led by legendary Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, will be one for the ages.

It is the central point from which several mouth-watering matchups grow.

How will Manning and his loaded stable of receivers, featuring Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas, combat Seattle's "Legion of Boom" secondary?

Will motor-mouth cornerback Richard Sherman shut down Manning and let him know about it?

These young, brash and nasty Seahawks are the antithesis to the regal precision exuded by Manning and the veteran supporting cast in Denver.

Many of those veterans reside on defense. But can 30-somethings like pass-rusher Shaun Phillips and corner Champ Bailey really contain Russell Wilson, Seattle's dynamic dual-threat quarterback?

Can Wilson, a second-year pro who is already a master of improvisation, actually outduel arguably the greatest quarterback in history?

Those are just the headline matchups. But the hidden battles are no less intriguing.

How about 335-pound defensive tackle Terrance Knighton against bruising running back Marshawn Lynch? Knighton, nicknamed "Pot Roast," is the linchpin of a tough Denver run defense.

He almost single-handedly destroyed the Patriots in the AFC title game. Now Knighton must lead a charge to bottle up Lynch, a battering ram runner who saves his best for the playoffs.

Then there is Broncos' "joker" tight end Julius Thomas. He has the potential to be a matchup nightmare against Seattle's man coverage schemes.

But the Seahawks have shut down star tight ends during these playoffs. They held New Orleans Saints ace Jimmy Graham to one catch for eight yards.

In the NFC Championship, 49ers playmaker Vernon Davis made just two grabs for 16 yards. Thomas may find it tough to escape hulking safety Kam Chancellor.

The point is this Super Bowl has something for everyone. It is the perfect way to cap a season that has been one of the best for decades.

Shootouts were commonplace, upsets were more surprising and divisional rivalries never more intense.

The Broncos and Seahawks stayed at the forefront in their own distinct ways.

The Seahawks remind everyone that physical dominance is not dead. They show that even in a pass-happy era, titles can still be won with smothering defense and punishing running.

Manning and the Broncos provide the contrast to Seattle's throwbacks. They prove that the best defense can often be a good, or in this case, a great offense.

Manning shattering every meaningful passing record throwing to a host of exciting weapons is what football in the modern NFL is supposed to look like.

So whether you're a connoisseur of defense, or admire a point-scoring machine, applaud the arrogance of youth, or respect the wily skill of experience, the NFL's 48th Super Bowl is one you can't miss.

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