Coming into the Super Bowl—and throughout the season—the Broncos led the league in scoring in points (606) and were practically hailed as the second coming of the vaunted Air Coryell-led San Diego Chargers in terms of offensive output. Manning, who had one of the greatest seasons ever for a quarterback, set records in touchdowns (55) and yards passing (5,477) en route to winning his fifth NFL MVP hours before kickoff.
With a so-called unstoppable offense that featured the likes of DeMaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas and New Jersey native, Knowshon Moreno, many so-called media prognosticators all be prematurely treated Denver has conquering heroes and ultimate victors.
For all of his many record-setting accomplishments, these same “experts” showered Manning with an avalanche of flattering accolades of being the “best quarterback of all-time” “ the best quarterback of his generation” and “the greatest ever” in being sixty minutes away from being the first quarterback to win two Super Bowls with two different teams. If Denver’s Pac-Man-like offense was the unstoppable Goliath, Seattle’s swarming defense was a determined and relentless David that aimed it’s proverbial slingshot at Denver’s head and landed a direct hit right between the eyes.
Manning was supposed to be—according to the many pundits—the man who would be king, while the Seahawks served as the wide-eyed, naïve neophytes who were just lucky to witness Manning’s coronation in person.
Clearly the “Legion of Boom” didn’t get the memo Sunday night—and neither did Mother Nature.
For two weeks, many were bombarded with stories about how the weather would play a factor and whether or not Seattle could somehow slow down the NFL’s version of the Miami Heat—minus LeBron, of course—in terms of hype, explosive offense and an occasional tendency to read their own press clippings, clearly showed as Seattle took Manning on a time warp back to his days in the SEC with Tennessee in playing the role of the nemesis Florida Gators in being more physical, faster and relentless in harrying, beguiling and all out leaving the future Hall-of-Famer looking dazed and confused.
The Seahawks simply swarmed Manning all night long, and hit and chipped Denver’s wideouts, in not allowing them to gain any yards after a catch. In one of the most physically dominating Super Bowl performances in recent memory, the Seahawks dominated the Broncos, the same way the 2000 Baltimore Ravens swarmed and befuddled the Kerry Collins-led New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.
Coming into the game, Russell Wilson was supposed to be the inexperienced sage simply honored to be on the same field as the more venerable and established Manning. While not putting up the same regular-season numbers that Manning did, Wilson clearly was the better quarterback in throwing darts and making smart decisions, while Manning threw two interceptions and lose a fumble.
While Manning has so many records that will boost his résumé for going into Canton, his post-season record of 11-2, eight “one and done’s” and 1-2 record in Super Bowls are significant blemishes on an otherwise impressive resume.
If there is one lesson that one can take away from the Seahawks dominating performance is that while offense scores points and wins games, the old adage of defense winning championships was once again proven right in an emphatic way that left no doubt.