Super Bowl XLVIII barrels onto Broadway this week, and with it comes a million storylines. Is Peyton Manning playing for his legacy, or merely adding to it? He's on the verge of his fifth MVP after compiling the greatest regular season for a quarterback in league history, but is only 11-11 in his playoff career with one lone title, back in 2007.
Is Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch primed for another dominant performance on the ground after back-to-back 100+ yard efforts in the NFC Divisional and Championship rounds? And what about Seattle's polished young QB Russell Wilson, who outlasted Colin Kaepernick and Andrew Luck to be the one to represent the league's exciting new generation of signal callers against the older guard that men like Manning (and before him, Brady) represent.
Is the game's leading storyline Richard Sherman? After all, the brash, sublimely talented Seahawks cornerback comes to the Meadowlands looking to shut down Manning's vaunted receiving corps, even if he won't shut his own mouth (and I love him for that). Then again, maybe it's another corner, Denver's Champ Bailey who proves the difference maker. He's a diminished but defiant 12-time-Pro Bowler seeking his first ring on the back end of a Hall of Fame career. Ray Lewis went out of top last February -- is it Bailey's turn next?
Then there's the two forceful head coaching personalities on the sidelines. John Fox is looking for his first title after coming up 3 points short with Carolina in 2004, whereas this is Pete Carroll's first Super Bowl after winning two* (or make the one, rather) championships on the college ranks with USC.
There's also a chance that, when all's said and done, the game's most memorable performer might not be a player at all, but Mother Nature herself. With temperatures expected to be sub-frigid come opening kick, expect an anything's-possible atmosphere for Super Bowl XLVIII.
With that being said, here are some of the greatest individual showings in Super Bowl history. Who might ultimately join this illustrious list this Sunday night is anyone's guess.
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