The Seattle Seahawks hope playing the Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium, where they face NFC West rival Arizona each season, will give them a bit of an advantage in the Super Bowl.
“I think it gives you a little bit of an advantage because I’m big on visualization,” said Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. “I believe in that and seeing the stadium and knowing where the (play) clock is, knowing what the grass is like and knowing all those things.
“It gives you a little bit of an advantage for me personally because I use it mentally throughout the week. Hopefully we have a few more fans than the Patriots.”
The Seahawks have won their last two games at University of Phoenix Stadium, including a 35-6 victory over the Cardinals last Dec. 21.
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“It does feel familiar to us, and our players have commented about that as well … we feel comfortable coming here,” said coach Pete Carroll. “We know what it feels like; we know what the sound is like.
“You never know what the stadium is going to be like in this kind of setting, but there is a sense of comfort that is more so to our favor than maybe some other places we haven’t been a lot. So we’re happy coming here to play.”
Gronkowski is No. 2
With all due respect, Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett does not consider New England’s Rob Gronkowski as the best tight end in the NFL.
“I think Gronkowski’s the second-best tight end,” Bennett said. “My brother’s (Chicago tight end Martellus Bennett) best, obviously.”
Gronkowski caught 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns for New England; Martellus Bennett caught 90 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns for the Bears.
“He faces the challenges of being 6-7-plus,” Michael Bennett said of his brother. “His body’s pretty good. He’s a good blocker. His run-after-the-catch is second to none. He has great hands. He’s just a great player, honestly.”
Playing through pain
Seattle safety Earl Thomas says a shoulder he injured in the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay won’t keep him out of the Super Bowl.
“Since I was a kid, every time I got hurt, I always came back in the game,” Thomas said. “I remember I played third base on my all-star baseball team and there was a weird ground ball that hit me in the mouth. I had braces at the time. My lip got stuck to the braces and I had to go to the emergency room.
“My dad said, ‘Do you want to go back and play?” I was like, ‘Of course.’ This is me. I love competing. I am just glad we are reliving our dreams.”