It's really hard to say we didn't expect this matchup from the start. The Seahawks and Broncos were two of the best teams from the beginning of the season, and they're the final squads standing at the end of the year.
This truly is the best versus the best. The Broncos (the top-seed in the AFC) finished the regular season 13-3, and then added wins over the Chargers and Patriots in the playoffs. The Seahawks (the top-seed in the NFC) also ended the year 13-3, and beat the Saints and 49ers to advance to the big dance.
This is only Seattle's second trip to the Super Bowl, while the Broncos are making their first trip to the title game since 1999. Denver has played in the Super Bowl six times in all, winning in 1997 and 1998.
These are two teams that excel on opposite sides of the ball. Denver has a high-powered offense, averaging more than 342 passing yards per game during the regular season. Quarterback Peyton Manning tossed 55 touchdown passes, setting a new NFL single-season record.
While the Broncos shine on offense, the Seahawks are tough on defense. Seattle only allowed 273.6 yards and 14.4 points per game this year. Their success has stretched into the postseason, holding the Saints and 49ers to 15 and 17 points, respectively.
Denver and Seattle have already battled once this year, but it happened in the preseason. The Seahawks dominated the Broncos 40-10 at CenturyLink Field on Aug. 17. The last game between the two that actually meant something happened on Sept. 19, 2010. Denver beat Seattle that day, 31-14.
Old AFC West rivals, the Seahawks have faced the Broncos more than any other team in the past. This is going to be the 53rd meeting between the two. Denver leads the all-time series 34-18, but Seattle won the only playoff game between the squads back in 1983 (a 31-7 victory at the Kingdome).
The Broncos opened as early favorites over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, but they're only favored by a point or two (depending on where you look). In other words, we're expected to see a showdown between two evenly matched teams in a couple weeks.
Super Bowl XLVIII shakes out at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Seahawks have already found success there this year. Seattle blanked the Giants 23-0 on their home field on Dec. 15. In their only other game at MetLife Stadium, the Seahawks topped the Giants 31-14 on Oct. 9, 2011.
Mark your calendars now. Super Bowl XLVIII kicks off at 3:30 p.m. (Pacific time) on Feb. 2. The winning team gets to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, securing their place in history. Will it be the Seahawks or will it be the Broncos? We'll have to wait and see.