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Lowell Cohn: Led by Peyton Manning, Broncos will prevail in Super Bowl

  • Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning stretches with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas during a practice in Englewood, Colo., on Saturday. (Associated Press)

Football is defunct.

Football expired around here Jan. 19 when Richard Sherman tipped a bad Colin Kaepernick pass to Malcolm Smith, and the Seahawks beat the 49ers 23-17 in the NFC championship game, the Seahawks going to that cold-weather carnival in New Jersey, the 49ers going home.

But one matter looms before we pack up the season. We address the remaining matter as a question: Who will win the Super Bowl, known as the Bud Bowl — not for beer, but for cannabis, the two contending states, Colorado and Washington being bullish on weed?

It says here Denver wins.

It's exciting when the No. 1 defense (Seahawks) faces the No. 1 offense (Broncos). And the best defense often smacks around the best offense like a bully smacking around a 90-pound weakling. Life is frustrating that way. Life is frustrating in many ways.

It's just this particular No. 1 offense is one heck of an offense. It is a numbers-producing machine. It is an abacus. It is doubtful, almost impossible, for the Seahawks' offense to keep pace with Peyton Manning and his guys. So, we're really talking about things being overwhelming, about the Broncos overwhelming the gritty, grim northern birds.

Of course, the issue is complicated. We are aware of the complications.

Some say Manning won't pass well in the gray cold of that big monster stadium close by the Hudson River. His arm isn't the strongest anymore.

Maybe he won't pass well — although it says here he will pass well. But get this. The Seahawks aren't exactly hotsy-totsy away from the noise and tumult of their place.

There are other issues with Manning, one big issue in particular. He is a great numbers producer — a human abacus, a computer, for heaven's sake. But he hasn't been so great in the postseason. That is the knock against him, the subtext. Something about not living up to his own standard when all the chips are in. It is the dark cloud on his career and you might say he is playing this game for his standing in history, for his place among the immortals.

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