- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Curtis Martin always has been an admirer of Peyton Manning. Two years ago, the Hall of Famer wanted to see the New York Jets pursue Manning as a free agent. On Sunday, Martin believes Manning will be the difference in Super Bowl XLVIII.
"I think the advantage comes with Peyton Manning, his mind and his understanding of the game," Martin said Monday during an appearance on ESPN's "Mike & Mike" radio show. "He can go out there and it's like playing chess. He's like a good football chess player. I would give the advantage to Peyton and to the Broncos just simply because of (his) wisdom and knowledge, just because of Peyton's football IQ."
Another edge for the Denver Broncos, according to Martin, is Super Bowl experience. No one on the Seattle Seahawks has played in a Super Bowl. Martin played in only one, for the 1996 New England Patriots, and he lost to the Green Bay Packers. He said the Patriots' lack of experience that year was costly.
"We were so pumped up, it was almost as though we were too hyped for ourselves," Martin said. "It took us a while to settle down. By then, Green Bay had already jumped out on top of us. I do think there are nerves and excitement, and the entire week leading up to the Super Bowl does have an effect on the players. Everyone wants to say it's just another game, but it's bigger than a game."