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Everything you need to know about Super Bowl XLVIII

For those of you who didn't pay attention to roman numerals in school, this is the 48th Super Bowl. Here are the key details regarding the biggest game in American sports:

Appearances: This is the Denver Broncos' seventh Super Bowl appearance, which is third on the all-time list behind San Francisco and Dallas (eight apiece). Craig Morton quarterbacked the Broncos in their very first Super Bowl, John Elway steered the ship in the next five, and now it's Peyton Manning's turn. They're only 2-4 all time in the Super Bowl, but they won their last two with Elway.

This is the Seattle Seahawks' second Super Bowl appearance. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Detroit in 2005. 

Weather: It could be a factor. This will be the first time we've ever had an outdoor Super Bowl in a winter climate. The coldest Super Bowl in NFL history to date took place when it was 39 degrees in New Orleans on Jan. 16, 1972. On Tuesday in New York, the high was 23 degrees and snow was falling. 

Best vs. the best: This will be only the second Super Bowl in the last 20 years to feature the two No. 1 seeds from each conference. It also contains the top two Vegas favorites from the preseason.

Offense vs. defense: This will be the first-ever Super Bowl in which the NFL's top offense in terms of yards and points scored (Denver) will face the NFL's top defense in terms of yards and points allowed (Seattle). 

As for balance: A slight difference comes when you consider the "other" units. The Seahawks ranked ninth in scoring and 17th in yardage, while the Broncos finished 22nd in points allowed and 19th in yards allowed.

Experience: Peyton Manning is the only player on either roster with a Super Bowl ring. Nobody on Seattle's roster has even been to the Super Bowl. Manning's Colts beat the Bears in 2006 but lost to the Saints in 2009. 

Family ties: This will mark the fifth time in seven years a Manning (Peyton or Eli) will play quarterback in the Super Bowl.

The age gap: At 37, Manning was the fourth-oldest position player in the NFL this season. Wilson, who turned 25 in November, is the sixth quarterback to make a Super Bowl before his third season. 

Health: It's amazing the Broncos are here without top pass-rusher Von Miller, top pass protector Ryan Clady and top cover man Chris Harris. But that's what happens when your quarterback breaks yardage and touchdown records in what will inevitably be an MVP season. The Seahawks, who look as though they'll get dynamic offensive weapon Percy Harvin back, are much healthier. 

Matchups: The Broncos are exploitable through the air, especially with Harris out, but the Seahawks prefer to smash you on the ground with Marshawn Lynch, who scored a 40-yard touchdown in the NFC championship game and has been known to rise up in the playoffs. Denver, though, shut down the New England running game last week. Second-year Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hasn't been playing well of late, so they'll need to be balanced. 

The Broncos don't give up a lot of pressure (Manning had the lowest sack percentage in the NFL), but Seattle has arguably the league's best secondary. Denver's deep receiving corps will go up against an equally deep Seahawks secondary. Demaryius Thomas vs. Richard Sherman might be the matchup of the game, but it goes beyond that with guys like Wes Welker and Julius Thomas battling Kam Chancellor, Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond. 

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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