Super Bowl XLIX: The proving ground

Super Bowl XLIX Super Bowl XLIX — with the matchup many of us projected before the season started — will be a proving ground in so many ways for both the Seahawks and the Patriots.

Going against the man who succeeded him in New England, Pete Carroll will have a chance to prove he is every bit the coaching genius that Bill Belichick — long the NFL’s best coach — is. What better way to do it than head to head?

Repeat champsIn the process, Carroll’s Hawks have a shot to do something that hasn’t been done since Belichick’s Patriots did it in 2003 and 2004: Win consecutive NFL titles. Just eight teams have done that in NFL history. That would set up a potential 3-Pete next season — something that has never been done.

The Patriots, meanwhile, will be trying to win a Super Bowl for the first time since that 2004 season. This is their sixth appearance in 14 years, but they have lost their past two to the New York Giants.

If the Hawks can beat the Pats, Russell Wilson will win his second head-to-head matchup against Tom Brady, improving to 11-0 against Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.

And Richard Sherman will get a chance to ask Brady once more, “You mad, bro?”

Sherman also will get to match his performance in the same game as Darrelle Revis, giving those who love to rank players a simultaneous look at the two best cornerbacks in the game. And Sherman and Revis can settle their Twitter war over the issue (even if Sherman actually squashed that a year ago).

On the other side of Revis is Brandon Browner, an original Legion of Boom member who missed out on the Super Bowl with the Seahawks last season because he was suspended. Browner told New England reporters Sunday that he had envisioned this reunion with his old teammates when he signed with the Patriots last year.

Now here they all are — for a game that has all kinds of storylines.

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