The clock struck double zero and the final score read 43-8. Under the circumstances, on that Sunday, February 2nd, 2014, it was the greatest defensive performance we have ever seen. The physicality, explosiveness, and dominance that the Seattle Seahawks defense displayed against the best offense (statistically) ever assembled. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos recorded an NFL record of 55 touchdowns in the regular season that transpired to one in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Seahawks and the 12th man turned MetLife Stadium into what felt like a Seahawks home game. A tremendous team effort, where every player suited seemed to make a play, on offense and defense.
And it seemed as if everyone not wearing a Seahawks jersey or apart of the 12th man wanted Manning to win.
This was bigger than one game and one championship. It was about immortality. Manning had a chance to be deemed the greatest ever. There is no bigger student of the game and better teammate than Peyton Manning. At age 37, Manning will never get an easier road to the Super Bowl and will never hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy again.
Let’s dissect the road the Broncos had to the Super Bowl. They defeated the overrated Kansas City Chiefs twice to win the AFC West. The Chiefs recorded one victory against a team over .500 all season, which was the Philadelphia Eagles in week 3. The Broncos then defeated the average San Diego Chargers in the AFC Divisional game. Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers won Comeback Player Of The Year not for returning from an injury last year, but for being so terrible. Rivers had 22 turnovers the season prior. And finally in the Conference Championship, Manning squared off with the torn in side, Tom Brady and New England Patriots. But this wasn’t the Patriots Manning was us to facing. Not only did Brady lose his best defensive player during the game, he entered the AFC Championship game without his biggest offensive target and playmaker Rob Gronkowski. While New England did defeat Denver earlier in the season, that loss was sustained at Foxboro. Manning and the Broncos never had to leave Mile High until Super Bowl XLVII.
While we can’t get take any credit away from the Seahawks and head coach Pete Carroll, who becomes the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl, the Broncos weren’t that good. Caught up in the records and “Omaha” defense still wins championships. Manning will only get older and teams will only get better. His mobility won’t increase and quarterbacks such as, Wilson, Luck, Newton, and Kaepernick will continue to be the new direction of the league.
A young dynasty is brewing is Seattle and a final chapter closing in Denver.