1 » For Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin, Super Bowl XLVIII will be just the third game he has played in all season long. Though he has totaled just 19 snaps, four receptions and 38 yards (along with one carry for nine yards), Harvin is seen by many as a potential X-factor for Seattle in its duel with the Denver Broncos. Tom Pelissero of USA Today opined Saturday that Harvin will wind up being the game’s Most Valuable Player, and history can certainly back up that proclamation. During the 2007 BCS Championship, Harvin scored a touchdown and totaled 82 yards on 11 touches. He also happened to be the Florida Gators’ leading pass catcher that day both in receptions (nine) and yards (60). Two years later, Harvin likely would have been the 2009 BCS Championship’s Most Outstanding Player had it not been for quarterback Tim Tebow’s performance. In that game, Harvin returned from an ankle injury to amass 170 total yards and a touchdown. He once again had team-highs of nine receptions and 121 receiving yards in the contest. Harvin is listed at 18-to-1 to win Super Bowl MVP honors with an over/under of 51.5 receiving yards and 1.6-to-1 odds of scoring a touchdown. Would you really bet against him?
2 » Denver Broncos WR Andre Caldwell signed up to catch passes from QB Peyton Manning but did not get much of an opportunity to do that last season. He was moved from No. 3 receiver to the bench and barely got on the field. Even in 2013, Caldwell only caught five passes through the first 14 weeks of the season before exploding on Dec. 12 with six receptions for 59 yards and his team’s only two touchdowns in a 27-20 loss to San Diego. He has seen more snaps with each passing game and now has the opportunity to play for a championship. “We have so much talent in the receiving corps, I’m the forgotten man,” Caldwell told CBSSports.com during Super Bowl Media Day on Thursday. “It’s humbling, but it makes me work a little harder. People forget about me on Media Day and during the game, but it just makes me work hard. But I prepare like I’m a starter anyway. I know when my opportunities come, I have to make them so people don’t forget about me.” He added: “This is something I couldn’t have imagined. I was fighting for my career and now I’m in the Super Bowl. And I’m actually playing.”
3 » Though Harvin and Caldwell have dealt with their share of adversity this season, Broncos defensive end Jeremy Mincey has also had an up-and-down 2013 campaign. Late to numerous meetings while with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mincey was listed as inactive for consecutive weeks, returned to the field in a victory effort and then got cut the following week. Former Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, now defensive coordinator with the Broncos, picked him up – and now he’s playing in the Super Bowl. “I didn’t think I’d be here this year, but I’m here now,” he said last Tuesday, according to the Florida Times-Union. “I’m just enjoying the moment. It’s a blessing. … I didn’t expect to actually be in the mix the way I am, but [Denver] threw me in the fire. I responded, and we’re here. … I’m just trying to bust my butt and make every play.” Take action on the game from both sides at SportsBettingDime.com.
4 » If Gators fans need more reasons than simply Harvin being on the roster to root for the Seahawks, here are two: defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive assistant Marquand Manuel. Quinn, Florida’s first defensive coordinator under head coach Will Muschamp, helped bring together one of the best defenses in the nation during consecutive seasons (2011-12). Manuel, the only member of Seattle’s roster or coaching staff who has participated in a Super Bowl, is a former Gators cornerback who was a sixth-round selection in the 2002 NFL Draft and played for six teams over eight seasons. He actually got injured eight minutes into the second quarter of Super Bowl XL, which the Seahawks ultimately lost 21-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was unable to return to the game. Less than a full quarter later, Manuel saw his replacement give up a 75-yard touchdown, a moment that has haunted him ever since. “It always sat with me,” he told the Associated Press. “It always sat with me that if I ever had the opportunity – and that’s what I try and instill to the players is – take advantage of it because its’ been eight years and I’m just getting back and it’s not promised to anybody.”
Extra BIT » Rookie linebacker Lerentee McCray was signed as an undrafted free agent by Denver and given a contract that indicated the Broncos had every intention of keeping him through training camp. In fact, McCray was turning heads in Denver before going down with a serious ankle injury and getting ruled out for the season before the 2013 campaign could even begin.