Super Bowl XLVIII: NFL Network analyst Heath Evans calls it for ...
Drafted into the NFL from Auburn, fullback Heath Evans had a 10-year pro career with the Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints (with whom he celebrated a Super Bowl win in 2010).
Now he works as analyst for NFL Network and as a game analyst for the NFL on FOX. He recently took a break from preparation for coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday (Feb. 2) to talk to Zap2it about the game, the players and his prediction.
On why Broncos QB Peyton Manning is the big story: "Obviously, Peyton Manning's going to take the front headlines. There's a lot to gain and a lot to lose. If he wins, it's almost to be expected, the way the team has been stacked. In my opinion, because of all that he's done in the regular season, and then [If he has] a second Super Bowl ring with a second franchise" -- Manning led the Indianapolis Colts to a win in Super Bowl XLI in 2007 -- "he'll probably cement himself as the greatest ever.
"That being said, if he loses, the way this team has been built around him, and everything having been handed to him almost perfectly, the legacy talk would go in the wrong direction, to a level he could never even imagine.
"In my Super Bowl with the Saints, he threw [an interception in the fourth quarter] to Tracy Porter that helped seal the deal to help us win that game. If something like that happens again, and there's that moment where he falters on the grandest stage of sporting events ever, it's just going to be a bad, bad deal."
On why Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman's emotional postgame interview at the NFC Championship isn't such a big deal: "Obviously, Richard Sherman made news with his brash comments post-game. It shouldn't be [a big deal], but that's the media world we live in. I'm a part of it; they love talking about it. So, Richard probably could have made a little better job of making it go away with just not discussing it after he apologized.
"I think he wants to handle himself in a more respectful light, in a more emotionally controlled light. He's a smart individual; he's a great kid. Truth be told, it was probably the PR group that had him voice the apology, and maybe it wasn't heartfelt. But, bottom line is, it's said and over and done with, and that's that."
On why Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is not occupying the biggest media spotlight: "He's a young gun. The only quarterback to have as much media attention [as Manning] would be Tom Brady. Even if it was Aaron Rodgers, there wouldn't be the attention, because he's a different personality. ... Russell has the best defense in football, so more attention is taken away from Russell, because he hasn't had to put up the gaudy numbers Peyton has to get to the Super Bowl."
On what people should know about Wilson: "Probably one of the finest human beings this league has ever seen. He cares about people more than himself. He has a lot of the Tom Brady in him, that studies and prepares in such a way, because he loves his teammates. He wants to make them better.
"I'm not sure there's anyone out there, including the Peytons and the Bradys and the [Drew] Brees, that work as hard on their craft as he does. He's an early riser; most time he's in the office by 5:15, 5:30 a.m.; he's not leaving until 7 or 8 p.m. He puts in the hours of a coach, more or less, and that shows up on Sundays by his preparation and his ability to play at a high level consistently."
On why Wilson's strong Christian faith hasn't attracted as much attention as that of Tim Tebow: "There's a bunch of reasons. He's stuffed out in the Northwest, and so, there's definitely an East Coast bias. In the quarterback-driven day and age we live in, you want big numbers, and he doesn't have those. He has big numbers in the win department, and that's about it. He makes plays and makes throws as need be.
"As he continues to prove his worth in this league, he'll garner more attention. If I was [Seahawks coach] Pete Carroll, he's probably had more than I would have liked, as a second-year quarterback. But he's earned everything he's gotten. The praise and the attention comes when warranted, good or bad."
On whether the Seahawks should be considered the underdogs: "I don't know, depends who you see as the underdog. I see Peyton Manning as the underdog, despite how his team was built. I think Seattle has the better football team. I've said it since week one of the regular season, when I picked these two teams as the Super Bowl teams. Seattle will be Denver's Kryptonite, and I firmly believe that."
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images, NFL Network
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