The Football Gods' Super Bowl

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It's the Super Bowl the football gods wanted to see -- the No. 1 offense versus the No. 1 defense. Perhaps the football gods will show mercy and send mild weather!

It's fitting that this season of scoreboard-spinning -- the Broncos with the highest-scoring team of all time -- should conclude this way. If Seattle's fantastic defense overcomes Denver's fantastic offense, the decade-long trend of favoring offensive players and tactics over their defensive equivalents might reverse. If Denver prevails, the movement toward a powerful offense may get even stronger.

What does history predict? This year's New Jersey Super Bowl will be the sixth time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that the top-rated offense has met the top-rated defense. So far, defense is 4-1 -- Bucs over Raiders (2003), Giants over Bills (1991), 49ers over Dolphins (1985), and Steelers over Cowboys (1979), with the top offense prevailing only in 1990 (49ers over Broncos). Football lore long has held that defense trumps offense, especially in the postseason. Two weeks from now in the swamps of Jersey, we'll find out if that remains true in the shotgun-spread era.

The Super Bowl also matches the conference No. 1 seeds, and thus is as if the NFL playoffs were a seeded tournament, pleasing cranky critics. And the pairing makes me look smarter than I am, because seven weeks ago, Tuesday Morning Quarterback led with a forecast of a Denver-Seattle Super Bowl.

You'll hear many times in the next two weeks that if Denver wins, Peyton Manning will become the first quarterback to start in Super Bowl victories for different teams. If Seattle wins, Pete Carroll will sort of become the first head coach to win both a BCS title and a Super Bowl trophy. Sort of, because the BCS win was vacated due to the Reggie Bush scandal. (Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer won both a Super Bowl and the old "mythical national championship.") And though a Seattle victory likely would be mainly about the Bluish Men Group defense, it also would be a crowning moment for the zone read.

In other football news, the time approaches to name the winner of the coveted longest award in sports: the TMQ Non-QB Non-RB NFL MVP. Because the official MVP always goes to a quarterback or running back, TMQ annually names an MVP who is neither. This year, readers will choose! Next week's column will present four nominees. A poll will determine the trophy recipient. See next week's column for details.

At the intersection of football and politics, an online petition started by Lynda Woolard of New Orleans, seeking to revoke the nonprofit status of NFL headquarters, already has more than 300,000 signatures. It's worth considering. Her view is seconded by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, among the most conservative members of Congress, who has proposed a bill to strip other professional sports of this and other tax favors.

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