By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino said on Wednesday that the Seattle Seahawks' improbable comeback over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game gives the defending champions an edge in the Super Bowl.
Marino predicts a tough game between Seattle and the New England Patriots in the Feb. 1 Super Bowl but says the former will be flying high after erasing a 12-point deficit with less than four minutes to play en route to a 28-22 overtime win.
"They had their backs to the wall and got through that," Marino told Reuters on Wednesday. "Mentally (that) will be an advantage for them."
The elation of the unlikely comeback and a ferocious defense keyed by an imposing secondary known as the "Legion of Boom" also weigh in Seattle's favor, said Marino, who was promoting the Nutrisystem diet program.
"Seattle, that's who I probably will be picking."
The quarterbacks have contrasting styles.
"(New England's) Tom Brady is a guy that's going to stand in the pocket, make all the throws, make the calls at the line of scrimmage, and is just an incredible competitor. He's a great leader," said Marino.
"(Seattle's) Russell Wilson proved last year that he's a great leader, taking his team to the Super Bowl.
"He moves around a lot more, and they give him options as far as bootlegs and running the ball.
"And it helps that they're a well-rounded offense. Marshawn Lynch is a big guy back there running that football."
Marino was impressed by Wilson's ability to rebound against Green Bay after throwing four interceptions.
"When it was on the line ... you make the plays you have to make to win the game. He's done that."
The Patriots can be pass-happy, as they were earlier in the playoffs, or lean on powerful LeGarrette Blount, who ran for 148 yards and three TDs in a 45-7 romp over Indianapolis in the AFC title game.
"It's a sign of coaching, game-planning and knowing what you need to do to win games," Marino said about coach Belichick.
Marino expects the Pats to rely on Blount.
Brady is gunning for a fourth Super Bowl ring to tie Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for most among quarterbacks.
Marino said Brady's place among quarterbacks is secure.
"Even if he doesn't win, he's already one of the best players at that position that's ever played the game," said Marino.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)