Super Bowl poised for great game, great debate

Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:12pm EST
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By Steve Keating

PHOENIX (Reuters) - The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots could produce one of the greatest Super Bowls of all-time on Sunday but the real winner may be debated for decades given the "deflategate" scandal hanging over the game.

All the elements are in place for the game as the two number one seeds, two brilliant quarterbacks and two coaching masterminds go helmet-to-helmet, watched by a television audience of over 100 million for American sport's biggest prize.

But the final score may not decide the true winner in many fans minds with the spotlight of suspicion firmly fixed on the Patriots as the NFL investigates the Patriots use of illegal under-inflated footballs during a blowout victory over the Indianapolis Colts that clinched a Super Bowl berth.

Even after the game is over and the Vince Lombardi Trophy hoisted the investigation will continue with many fans questioning whether the Patriots should have been allowed onto the University of Phoenix Stadium field.

During the Super Bowl buildup both teams have desperately tried to push the focus back onto the game but the whiff of scandal has refused to drift away.

"You know, right now, our focus is totally on the Seattle Seahawks and this game," said New England coach Bill Belichick when asked if it bothered him that the national perception of the Patriots is "a bunch of cheaters".

"We’ll try to prepare our team and compete as well as we can Sunday afternoon against a great football organisation," Belichick said. "That’s really what our focus is."

Beyond "deflategate" the game is rich with intriguing subplots, personalities and no clear-cut favorite with Las Vegas betting odds shifting from even to the Patriots being a one-point favorite.   Continued...

Jan 28, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; General view of Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots helmets and Super XLIX logo football at Papago Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports