By Scooby Axson
January 20, 2015
Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated

The Seattle Seahawks were two minutes and four seconds away from taking a vacation and having the Green Bay Packers represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Just 44 seconds later, Seattle took the lead before the Packers tied up the score, sending the game into overtime.

Seattle then took the ball after winning the coin toss and never gave it back, scoring on the extra period’s first possession on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse for his only reception of the game.

How Seattle got 28 points in the first place is something of a miracle, with a fake field goal for a score, an improbable two-point conversion, help from the Packers hands team, and “Beast Mode” putting the Seahawks one step closer to being considered one of the best teams the NFL has ever seen.

The Seahawks are looking to become the first team in a decade to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The last team to accomplish the feat: Seattle's Super Bowl XLIX opponents, the New England Patriots.

New England is back in the big game for the sixth time in the last 14 years. With three Patriots victories and two losses to the New York Giants, legacies are at stake, most notably for quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

While the focus should be on how to detrone the Seahawks, New England will have to deal with questions about whether it used deflated footballs in the AFC title game.

Whatever storylines unfold (and there are plenty) between now and Feb. 1, Seattle and New England both will be looking for something to prove.

For more on the Super Bowl, check out this week's Sports Illustrated. (subscribe here)

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