Top seeds bring plenty of Super Bowl experience
By Simon Evans
MIAMI (Reuters) - For all the NFL's much-vaunted unpredictability, the 2014 regular season ended with largely expected results meaning a powerful playoff field headed by teams with recent Super Bowl experience.
The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks finished as top seed in the NFC ahead of 2010 winners, the Green Bay Packers.
In the AFC, the New England Patriots are looking for a sixth Super Bowl appearance since 2001 after taking top seed ahead of last season's runners-up, the Denver Broncos.
All four quarterbacks from the top four seeded teams -- the Broncos' Peyton Manning, Seahawks' Russell Wilson, New England's Tom Brady and the Packers' Aaron Rodgers -- have already won a Super Bowl.
There is winning experience on the sidelines too where Denver's John Fox is the only head coach from that quartet who has not landed a Lombardi Trophy.
The Seahawks made a shaky 3-3 start to the 2014 season but ominously for their rivals ended their campaign with six straight wins and the fewest points allowed in the league for the third year in a row.
Head coach Pete Carroll certainly believes his team had answered the doubters in the media.
"You guys kept talking about how you can't do this, can't get to this point again ... and we just did it. We will see how we do in the playoffs. We got back to division champs and that is pretty rare. I'm really proud of that," he said. Continued...