Sometimes we spend too much time over-hyping the stars of the championship game, so instead lets focus on which players could lose you your Super Bowl bet. For each player involved, let’s assume that you placed a bet on their team to win either straight up or on the betting line which is hovering in the DEN -3.0 range. Below are five players that could definitely turn the tide against their own team. Three of them you know, and you probably haven’t heard about the fourth.
Which Players Could Lose You Your 2014 Super Bowl Bet?
PEYTON MANNING (Quarterback – Denver Broncos)
Let’s start with the most obvious. This Super Bowl could very well make or break the legacy of Peyton Manning. Getting the job done when it’s just a regular game, or even a playoff game, is all fine and well but the truly legendary players find a way to come through when the stakes are at their highest. It’s why the conversation concerning Tom Brady over Peyton Manning has some weight to it. Manning is a stat monster and a regular season devourer of worlds, but he has just one ring in two Super Bowl appearances.
And in the big game, Manning hasn’t played all that well. In his first win over Chicago, Manning threw 25-of-38 passes for 247 yards and 1 touchdown along with 1 interception. That gave him a quarterback rating of 81.8, which isn’t that great. To put this in perspective, that’s the third lowest rating of a Super Bowl winning quarterback since the turn of the century. Only 2001 Tom Brady and Brad Johnson had lower quarterback ratings.
In his other Super Bowl appearance against New Orleans, Manning completed a whopping 31-of-45 passes for 333 yards while also managing a touchdown and the game losing interception. So when you’re openly wondering which players could lose you your Super Bowl bet, Manning’s name springs to the forefront because he’s already lost the big game before.
Listen, his numbers aren’t bad but they aren’t great either. Like championships, we define great quarterbacks by touchdowns in the big games. Call it The Walter Payton Corollary if you will. It’s not how many yards Manning amasses – it’s the scores and the turnovers. Facing a vindictive secondary is going to be a challenge for a man who is under more pressure than anyone else. If Manning isn’t able to find the end zone on a regular basis, he’s not going to be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. There’s a growing sentiment that the 2013 version of Manning is far different than every other rendition, but the history is there. And it doesn’t tell an appealing story.
RICHARD SHERMAN (Cornerback – Seattle Seahawks)
If you open your mouth as much as Sherman does, you’re going to end up with a target on your back. People are betting on the Seahawks as if Sherman is going to have a big impact on the game. When you consider which players could lose you your Super Bowl bet, Sherman has to be included in the discussion. So, will Manning throw in Sherman’s direction? It depends on a few things, like how windy it is. But it’s also contingent on the matchup.
Demaryius Thomas and Sherman could engage in a monumental war for the ball if that’s how things shake up, but Sherman has also been dispatched to cover tight ends so it won’t surprise me if and when he ends up covering Julius Thomas, and that could be a big problem. Julius is a huge guy with a massive frame that even Sherman will have trouble defending, and if the tight-end gets rolling early the Seahawks will have no choice but to assign the 6-foot-3 Sherman on the big man.
On top of all that, Sherman was penalized ten times which is the second most amongst corner backs (Janoris Jenkins of St. Louis had 12). And these were blatant penalties like taunting, unnecessary roughness, holding and five pass interference calls. He’s a brash, young player and that could lead to some ill-advised pick attempts that lead to flags being pulled against him. He could be a hero, but he can also be a goat and in this case that doesn’t refer to greatest-of-all-time.
ORLANDO FRANKLIN (Right Guard – Denver)
Of all players in the NFL, Franklin was the tenth most penalized player on a per game basis with 0.556 penalties per match. These were pretty balanced as well. He was called for 7 holding penalties and two false starts along with an illegal downfield penalty. Franklin is not who the Broncos wanted at right tackle but they were stuck with him when a variety of injuries occurred along the line. An untimely penalty for holding or an unintended pre-play jump could cost the Broncos pivotal yards at the wrong time. Franklin may not be gaining any headlines yet, but he will if he doesn’t tone down his mistakes. I know you didn’t consider Franklin when you asked yourself which players could lose you your Super Bowl bet, but I guarantee he’s on your radar now.
RUSSELL WILSON (Quarterback – Seattle Seahawks)
I just don’t know how Wilson handles the pressure of this game. At one point or another, Wilson will have to throw the ball and he attempted the fewest passes of any quarterback not named Colin Kaepernick this season. He’s not as proven as a pocket passer as people want to believe, and his highlight reel shows flashes of brilliance which make us forget that he’s not a consistently amazing thrower. Don’t get caught up in the idea of Russell Wilson – he can make astoundingly effective throws from time to time, but the reality of Russell Wilson is that he’s a second year player who could very well be overshadowed by the moment. That’s why he rounds out the list of which players could lose you your Super Bowl bet – many young quarterbacks have come before him, faced a similar situation…and failed.