By Steve Keating
PHOENIX (Reuters) - Wide receiver has long been one of American football's glamor positions but in the buildup to Sunday's Super Bowl it is the cornerbacks on the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks packing the star power.
Most NFL fans from Los Angeles to London can probably tell you about the Patriots' Darrelle Revis and Seahawks' Richard Sherman but many would be hard-pressed to name the receivers they will line up against at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Revis, known to fans as "Revis Island" for leaving receivers stranded when he covers them, has been named to five Pro Bowls while the outspoken Sherman has been a first-team All-Pro the last three years.
Former Seahawk Brandon Browner, who now patrols the other corner for New England, has a resume that also includes a Pro Bowl appearance while Byron Maxwell is viewed as an emerging talent in the Seattle secondary.
In comparison, the wide receiver corps on New England and Seattle are relatively anonymous figures who do not feature as primary offensive weapons.
Neither team's wideouts reached the 1,000 yard plateau in receiving this year.
Seattle's Doug Baldwin had just three touchdowns while Jermaine Kearse had one. Five non-Seattle players had more receiving yards than the two Seattle wide receivers combined (1,362 yards).
Brady made more use of his wideouts, who both caught over 900 yards, Brandon LaFell hauling in seven touchdowns catches and Julian Edleman four.
"They're similar to our receivers in that they're underrated, they don't get a lot of the spotlight," said Sherman about the challenge that awaits the Seattle secondary on Sunday.
"They're not always asked to have huge games and to have a huge effect on the game, but they work hard, they run their routes precisely and when they're asked to make big plays, they make them."
Like many of his teammates, Kearse plays with a chip on his shoulder, motivated by the lack of perceived respect he and his fellow receivers get from the public and opposing teams.
Unwanted, Kearse and Baldwin were signed as undrafted free agents and found a home in Seattle, giving the Seahawks a reliable, if unspectacular, receiving tandem.
"We just kind of go out there and all of our guys have a chip on their shoulder," said Kearse. "The majority of our room is undrafted.
"A lot of our guys play with chips on their shoulders. I've watched these guys practice. I've watched these guys play. There's a lot of talent."