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Super Bowl Day: Ready For 17 And A Half Minutes Of Football?

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The hype is over. It is indeed game day. Today in Glendale, Arizona, the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in one of the most anticipated championship games ever. The Patriots are gunning for their fourth title since 2002, and they are ever-so-slight favorites. Defending champion Seattle is trying to become the ninth team to win back-to-back Super Bowls. It is a dream matchup after a nightmare season for the NFL. Here to talk with us from Phoenix, not far from where the game will be played, is NPR's Tom Goldman. Hey, Tom. Happy Super Bowl Sunday.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Oh, same to you, Rachel.

MARTIN: (Laughter) So before I ask you to tell us who is going to win and why, I've got to ask you about this new study out that says we're going to see less than 20 minutes of action in this game which is shameful.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) Believe it. A study by the nonprofit Media Education Foundation estimates there will be right around 17 1/2 minutes of actual football action in your four hour Super Bowl show. So that'll leave you lots of time to do other stuff - watch lots of commercials. The question is, Rachel, which teams will do more with that 17 1/2 minutes? Now it's very hard to say. Both are exceptional teams with multiple weapons on offense and defense and special teams. They have identical 14-4 records, very balanced offensive attacks. Tell you just a little bit about that - Seattle's offenses lean more on the pounding running of Marshawn Lynch, who should remind us today he is a lot more than just the guy who won't talk to the media. But Seattle can also win with quarterback Russell Wilson throwing the ball. Similarly, the Patriots are very, you know, they're very balanced. They've got a great running back in LeGarrette Blount. Quarterback Tom Brady - he's in the discussion of the greatest quaterbacks ever. One thing to look for - Seattle has an edge on defense because the Seahawks have basically been the gold standard for defense. But we're going to watch closely to see if any of the Seahawks outstanding defensive backs, who've been injured recently - Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor - are having trouble playing.

MARTIN: OK. So anything tip the balance, Tom, one way or the other?

GOLDMAN: Well, this regular season, Seattle's great defense gave up 11 touchdowns to opposing tight ends. That's one of the highest amounts in the NFL. And guess who has the best tight end in football? New England with Rob Gronkowski, so advantage, perhaps, to the Patriots. And then there's this - 3 of New England's 4 losses this season came against teams with quarterbacks who run the ball really well. No one runs the ball better than Seattle's Russell Wilson. New England may be vulnerable there.

MARTIN: OK. Who's going to win?

GOLDMAN: Oh, God, I don't know.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

GOLDMAN: But I will repeat my favorite prediction among the billions out there. It comes from former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick. He picked Seattle to win 24-21, but he gives this explanation. This is truly a tossup. I could give you five reasons why either of those closely matched teams will win. Ultimately, I'm just guessing. And Rachel, so is everyone else, no matter how confident they seem.

MARTIN: OK. Tom Goldman, enjoy the game.

GOLDMAN: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.