Super Bowl puts on a stunning show for the fans even if they don't like the game... it engulfs an entire city and we must try and do this back home for the FA Cup final
- New England Patriots take on Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl
- State of Arizona has put on a phenomenal show this week
- The events staged as part of the Super Bowl build-up appeal to everybody, not just American football followers
- There was an event this week where Calvin Harris was DJing and there were around 100,000 people there for a festival
- We could try and make the FA Cup a bigger event and spectacle by following some of the examples of this Super Bowl week
- After picking the Denver Broncos to win last year, I'm going to toe the line this time but hope for a close game that goes all the way
SUPER BOWL XLIX
New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks
University of Phoenix Stadium
Sunday 1 February - 11.30pm GMT
The way that the NFL builds a city around an American football event is phenomenal. I was speaking to a couple of British journalists this week who were saying that this was the first time that they had been out to America for the Super Bowl. They just can’t believe how the whole city has become engulfed by the NFL and the Super Bowl.
The commercial investment that has been put into the game is huge. I know there are a lot of cultural differences and we are very different to the Americans in the way we see sport, but imagine if we could make a bigger spectacle out of the FA Cup final.
Even if it’s just getting players at a press conference or giving fans access to players to be able to see them in the build-up to the final, that’s a small step that I think would make a massive difference. Opening the game up to the fans and letting the fans have some access to maybe a practice or a meet and greet would make the event more personal.
The state of Arizona will host Super Bowl 49 between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks
The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale is all quiet leading up to the blockbuster event
Recording artist Calvin Harris performs on stage during a festival organised just next to the stadium
Around 100,000 people attended the festival on Thursday as they enjoyed Super Bowl week
What I’ve witnessed this week is mind-blowing. In downtown Phoenix it is like a walking Hall of Fame. There are players from every generation of the game walking around just soaking up the atmosphere. It would make a huge difference to the FA Cup final if we started to consider how we could market it and make it a bigger event, not necessarily on this scale.
We went to an event on Thursday when Calvin Harris was DJing and they literally built V Festival next door to the stadium. There were around 100,000 people there - it was that big. Even though it was raining it had that festival atmosphere. It’s that kind of commercial investment that makes a massive difference.
They were all student-looking types at the festival, but it is all part of the Super Bowl and based around that. You might not be a football fan, but you’ll still enjoy the activities provided by these big corporate companies because they’re in town for the Super Bowl.
Katy Perry will perform during the half-time show on Sunday night at the University of Phoenix Stadium
The Californian singer brought her dog to a press conference this week as she addressed the media
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana (right) at an event in Phoenix on Thursday
Actor Nick Cannon (left) and rapper Nelly (right) perform at a Playboy Party during Super Bowl weekend
There are parties everywhere with all the big-names like Rihanna, Snoop Dogg and Jason Derulo. And obviously you can’t help but avoid all the chicken wings, the loaded potato skins and the pitchers of ale flying around.
If we could maybe bring the people of the Football Association and Premier League over and just show them what the Americans do, we might be able to start to do something like this at home.
SHUT DOWN THE OUTSIDE RUN
There are a lot of aspects to this game that are very similar to last year. Once again we have got the very young Russell Wilson, playing in his second Super Bowl on the bounce, going up against one of the grand masters of the game in Tom Brady, who is making his sixth Super Bowl appearance and won three already. I would argue that Brady is probably the best quarterback to play the game.
Everybody knows how good the Seattle Seahawks are on offense. The key for the Patriots defense is containing the read option (where the quarterback has the option of giving the ball to the running back or instead holding onto it and running around the outside). If the Patriots can shut down the outside run and read option then they have got a real chance of containing the Seahawks offense.
The Seattle Seahawks defense is without doubt one of the best defensive groups we have seen in recent times. The ‘Legion of Boom’ are the best group of defensive backs in the NFL. They are very talented, very quick and all quite tall. It is quite intimidating for wide receivers of the opposing team to see. The Seahawks defensive backs don’t show many different looks in their defensive formation, but they’re so quick and so fast in closing down opposing teams.
Tom Brady is preparing to play in his sixth Super Bowl having won three titles already
Brady and his Patriots team-mates practice in Tempe, Arizona in the lead up to Sunday's showdown
Russell Wilson will play in his second straight Super Bowl having been in the league for just three seasons
I think Brady will struggle because the Seahawks defensive line is very quick. Brady likes to sit in the pocket and is not very mobile. He will stand in the pocket for the longest time until he finds a receiver who is wide open. I think the Seattle Seahawks will focus on that and blitz a lot. They won’t necessarily put a spy on Tom Brady because he doesn’t run, but they’ll use the extra man to blitz.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski is going to be one of Brady’s key targets. Against the Colts, the Patriots mixed up the run and the pass. If they can establish the run game on Sunday it will help them when they try and pass, because the Seahawks defense will be leaning towards stopping the run.
Pete Carroll used to be head coach of the Patriots before Robert Kraft fired him and that’s when the Belichick era began, so Carroll might have a chip on his shoulder.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is fitter and healthier this season than he has been for a long time
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman speaks out during media day in Phoenix
Pete Carroll (left) was sacked as Patriots head coach and replaced by Bill Belichick (right)
Wilson led the Seattle Seahawks to a crushing 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos last year in New Jersey
People in town have been saying that if you give Patriots head coach Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare then he is going to come up schemes, plays and formations that the opposing team night not necessarily have seen on film.
After last year’s catastrophe of me calling the Denver Broncos to win - and we all know what happened there - I’m going to toe the line on this one. I think it’s going to be a close game and I hope it goes down to the fourth quarter.
I have seen Marshawn Lynch’s press conferences and it is quite amusing to sit and watch him and listen to what he hasn’t got to say. We saw commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference on Friday and he was asked about Lynch.
The commissioner is right in saying that we have all got jobs to do and there are some elements to our job that we don’t really like but we have to do them to fulfill the role and our positions.
But American football teams have 60 different players, so why keep putting up a guy who doesn’t say anything? We are not going to get anything from him, so put another running back in.
Marshawn Lynch has been at the centre of attention this week for what he hasn't said to the media
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that people have to do parts of their jobs they might not like
VERNON'S FAVOURITE SUPER BOWL MOMENTS
3. New York Giants 39-20 Denver Broncos - Super Bowl XXI, January 25, 1987
This was the year I really got into American football and I knew the rules and what to look out for. The sun setting over the iconic Rose Bowl in California made the whole event look beautiful.
I remember watching up to the end of the first quarter and had school the next morning. But my mum stayed up and recorded the game on VHS but paused the adverts, because if you didn’t pause the adverts you wouldn’t get the whole game on one tape.
That Super Bowl started a period of about 10 years where my mum or dad would pause the adverts to get it all on a VHS video. In that game we saw John Elway and Lawrence Taylor and two iconic teams. That’s one Super Bowl I remember for it’s visual beauty.
The iconic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on the day of Super Bowl XX in 1987
Head coach Bill Parcells is lifted into the air after the New York Giants beat the Denver Broncos
New York Giants running back Joe Morris scores a touchdown at the Rose Bowl in California
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23 Arizona Cardinals - Super Bowl XLIII, February 1, 2009
This was the first Super Bowl I watched live and I was fortunate enough to be sat just over the end zone when Ben Roethlisberger threw the final touchdown to win the game for the Steelers. Little did I know that the wide receivers coach for the London Warriors, Marvin Allen, was on that squad and he won a Super Bowl ring in that game.
Santonio Holmes celebrates catching the game-winning touchdown for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009
1. Chicago Bears 46-10 New England Patriots - Super Bowl XX, January 26, 1986
This was the first American game that I ever saw. It was one of the best defenses that had ever played the game. I wasn’t aware at the time, but as I slowly taught myself about the history of the game, I realised that Bears defense was one of the best to play the game.
It was also the first time I saw Walter Payton run the football and they had William Perry aka 'The Fridge'. That was the season that made him a household name, even in Britain.
The Chicago Bears dominate the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XX in New Orleans
Walter Payton runs the ball for the Chicago Bears (left) as William Perry aka 'The Fridge celebrates (right)
Vernon Kay presents NFL American Football on Channel 4. The Super Bowl coverage starts at 22.30pm Sunday 1st February.
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