It’s that time of the year when everybody’s an expert, or at least has an opinion, on the outcome of the Super Bowl. In today’s case, it’s Super Bowl XLVIII, a matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.
The game has obvious local interest because Denver — just a three-hour drive from Aspen, at least when the roads are clear — will be vying for the Lombardi Trophy.
It’s also the biggest day of the year in America to place a wager, and the Broncos have been a narrow favorite, by 2 to 21/2 points, in many betting books.
So Aspen Times staffers took to the streets this week to hear what the locals have to say about the big game, which starts at 4:30 p.m. today on Fox. And — hardly shocking news here — if this unscientific poll revealed anything, there’s plenty of Broncos bias to go around.
Working at Radio Boardshop on Wednesday, 23-year-old Ruthie Prikryl, of Aspen, predicted a landslide Super Bowl victory for the Broncos. Her score? Broncos 150, Seahawks 0. Her forecast was based mainly on the quarterback play in Denver.
“Because Peyton Manning drinks Bud Light and eats Seahawks for breakfast,” she said.
Mike Kaplan, president and CEO of Aspen Skiing Co., didn’t take it to that extreme but still expressed confidence in a Broncos win, due mainly to the guy behind center.
“I think the Broncos are going to win the Super Bowl by a score of 28-24,” Kaplan said. “Peyton Manning is going to play that possession game, and he’s going to be tough to beat; he’s a man on a mission.
“Denver wins this game because the Broncos offense will outplay the Seattle defense. Go Broncos!”
The Manning factor is why Corby Anderson, a rabid sports fan and the producer of The Aspen Times “On the Hill” video segment, isn’t doubting the Broncos.
“I’m calling Broncos, 38-17,” he said. “And I think that’s with the throttle back. I don’t think that young lad (Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson) will be able to stand up to the glare. The Broncos have an underrated run game, and it will negate Seattle’s pass defense.”
For Annette Docimo, owner of Annette’s Mountain Bake Shop in downtown Aspen, it’s fairly academic why Denver will win: “We’ve got a Peyton Manning; they don’t.”
At Basalt’s Fire Department, it’s Denver all the way.
Firefighters Jennifer Taylor and Brooke Stott are calling Denver wins by 20-17 and 24-21, respectively.
“It’s just going to be so close,” Taylor predicted. “I think Denver’s defense is stronger and is going to end up winning the game for us.”
Stott echoed that sentiment.
“I think it’s going to be close,” Stott said. “I think their offense is going to make the bigger plays.”
But Fire Chief Scott Thompson was bolder in his forecast.
“There’s no doubt,” he said. “Broncos by 14. Their defense is going to show up, and they’re going to protect Manning.”
As the athletic director at Aspen High School, Carol Sams knows a few things about sports — and the Broncos, too.
“I’m absolutely a Broncos fan,” Sams said. “And I’m picking the Broncos to win Sunday.”
She said the choice was easy.
“The Broncos are a superior team,” Sams said.
Her prediction? “I’ll say ... 27-14, Broncos.”
And what about that New Jersey weather? Aspen postman Tim Gustafson said the cold won’t hinder the Broncos.
“Broncos are going to dominate in the cold,” he said. “We got the cold thing down. Broncos 21 — wait, no, that’s not enough. Broncos 31, Seahawks 17.”
One thing’s for certain: Local Broncos fans are oozing with confidence. Then we contacted Michael Applegate, a former Aspen Times intern with an affinity for the Seahawks. And if Applegate, who now lives in Michigan, is correct, the Seahawks will use defense and enough offense to pull out a Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos.
Applegate currently is the assistant sports editor for the Holland (Mich.) Sentinel. He grew up in Kent, Wash., but has watched plenty of Bronco games over the years.
“It’s disheartening to see all of these so-called experts calling for Denver to score 30,” he said Friday. “I disagree. I think the Seahawks hope to hold Peyton Manning to two touchdowns and a couple of field goals.”
Applegate said he believes the Seahawks have the better roster overall, especially with the return of wide receiver Percy Harvin.
“Even though he hasn’t played a lot this year, if they can get him involved early, Denver is in trouble,” Applegate said.
Applegate said many sports prognosticators are counting out the Seahawks, which will give the team some extra motivation. He added that the Seahawks secondary is one of the most talented groups in recent memory.
He expects the scoring to happen early, with both defenses tightening up in the second half. His expectation of the final score: Seahawks 27, Broncos 20.