First, a recap of how we got here. Next, a note on the potential: Super Bowl XLVIII was the first big game to be played in the cold since 1972, and even that was played in New Orleans xxxx not exactly the frigid climate of the Northeast. It was played on Groundhog Day, which means it also took place on Tutu Day. The comedic possibilities were there, as were the historical ones. The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks arrived in New Jersey determined to make the most of it. (Special shoutout to the reporters who asked the players if the game was a "must win" one.)
Then the game began and the bloodbath commenced. The Seahawks got the quickest points on the board in Super Bowl history and it was all downhill for the Broncos after that. The Broncos would eventually lose the Super Bowl by 35 points, 43-8. The tale of how the league's best offense, prior to this game, got to that point, though, is worth exploring.
The Seahawks kicked two field goals in the first quarter and scored a touchdown almost immediately after the second quarter began. With a 15-0 lead, things looked dire for the Broncos, but there's no way the game was out of hand; those numbers represented a mere two-score difference, should the Broncos opt out of one of their PATs for a 2-point conversion. Then, Malcolm Smith picked off Peyton with just over 3:20 left in the first half and ran it all the way back; 69 yards for a pick six. With the extra point, Seattle went into the locker room up huge, 22-0.
Despite knowing that this game was for all the marbles, John Fox, coach of the Broncos, must have given one of the least inspiring half time speeches of all time. After kicking to the Seahawks, the Denver special team let Percy Harvin run back an 87 yard kickoff return. Down 29-0 only 12 seconds into the second half, the Broncos situation looked hopeless and it didn't get any better. Russell Wilson, stud young quarterback of the dynasty-in-the-making Seattle Seahawks threw for another touchdown in the 3rd, putting the navy, green and grey squad up 36-0. The Broncos, for what it's worth, did finally get off the schneid as the third quarter ended, scoring a touchdown and converting for 2.
But with 15 minutes to play, the 4th quarter felt like an extended celebration for Seattle. Even the much-vaunted Peyton Manning would not be able to overcome the odds of the NFL's best defense, xxx a defense that is now making claims about being one of the best ever xxx the short time span and a 28 point deficit. In fact, the only team to score again in the game was Pete Carroll's crew, with Russell Wilson putting the icing on the cake with ten minutes to go. Wilson would finish with only 25 attempts and 18 completions, but he managed 206 yards out of those passes. Manning, on the other hand, threw far more often, completing 34 of 49 attempts, for 280 yards. With their percentages within a presidential poll's margin of error, the game was clearly decided on the ground. Seattle, free to roam the field, racked up 135 total yards, while Denver, playing against the stingiest defense they'd faced this season, managed only a paltry 27 total yards. Smith, for his pick and so much more, would grab the Most Valuable Player award.
So the beatdown was complete and thorough. And now we'll endure all the off-season questions about Manning's place in history. And, perhaps more intriguingly, the questions of the young guns in Seattle. Is this a dynasty? Has Pete Carroll justified his departure from USC? While the city of Seattle celebrates, 31 other teams are plotting their course to dethrone the champs.