sport

Broncos to test Seattle defence

The old adage that "defence wins championships" will be put to an extreme test in a mouth-watering Super Bowl XLVIII match-up on Sunday night.

With the forecast in East Rutherford, New Jersey improving by the day, attentions are now turning what promises to be a thrilling game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

Following a dramatic week of plots and sub-plots, it is now Peyton Manning and the Broncos' record-breaking offence tackling Seattle's number-one ranked defence that comes into focus.

For the first time since 1990, the season finale pits the team with the best offence against the squad with the premier defence.

And, in the eyes of many, the game comes down to whether Manning is able to successfully attack Seattle's stunning secondary, the self-styled Legion of Boom.

Denver coach John Fox said: "I think a lot has been made of that and rightfully so.

"Both sides have been fairly historic in what they've accomplished; I'm talking about Seattle's defence and I'm talking about our offence. We both have great pride."

His opposite number Pete Carroll added: "For us, it is pretty obvious that we have this enormous challenge of this great season that (Denver's offence) has had and (Denver quarterback) Peyton (Manning) and all that he was able to accomplish.

"Nobody has really slowed them down. We take that as a big challenge to us."

Manning, a certain Hall of Famer who is set to win his fifth NFL MVP award on Saturday evening, will garner much of the attention.

Regular-season brilliance, as he has produced this year by setting all-time marks for single-season passing yards and touchdowns, has often preceded failures in the play-offs during his stellar career.

However, in many eyes, Manning has an opportunity to cement his legacy by winning his second championship - not that the veteran was willing to indulge such talk earlier this week.

"I'm not 100% sure what the word even means," he said at Tuesday's media day. "I've been asked about my legacy since I was 25 years old

"I'm not sure you can have a legacy when you are 25 years old, or even 37. I thought you had to be 70 to have a legacy."

However, Kurt Warner, who appeared in three Super Bowls and won one, is all too aware that another ring would carry huge significance.

"He is obviously one of the best quarterbacks that has ever played, probably in the top two or three in the league's history," he said.

"In the regular-season, he is the best we've seen I think; in terms of post-season, I think Tom Brady is the best having reached five Super Bowls.

"I put Manning in the conversation as the greatest ever and any championships he wins only put closer to the top."

With Manning versus the Richard Sherman-led Legion of Boom dominating much of the agenda, outstanding young Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has almost been overlooked.

However, the 2012 third-round pick, who has overcome questions over his height to become one of the league's leading stars, is not overly concerned.

Wilson stands on the brink of matching only Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Warner by winning the Lombardi Trophy within his first two seasons.

And he is already setting the bar high for his career, saying: "I want to change the game and there's a difference between being good and being great and changing the game.

"Guys like Peyton Manning change the game in terms of the way he thinks and in terms of the way he processes things.

"Tom Brady is the same way; he's so clutch that people fear him. One day I want to evolve to that."

Wilson can take a giant step towards doing just that if he can outduel Manning on Sunday.