The Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium was a reminder that football, in its purest form, is a game of physicality, speed, explosiveness and the imposition of will. The policy makers of the NFL have significantly modified many rules to favor offensive production. Call it the fantasy football effect.
But the young, talented Seahawks (16-3) defied the NFL’s wonks who have been responsible for artificially manufacturing video game numbers. The Seahawks’ defense manhandled, rattled and marginalized the Broncos and their wondrous quarterback, Peyton Manning.
The Broncos (15-4) entered the game as one of the most prolific offenses of all time. Manning, the regular season MVP, threw for a record 55 touchdowns. Seattle had a simple response: so what! The overwhelming storyline entering the game was Manning’s legacy. But the youthful Seahawks, whose average age is 26.4 years old and who did not have a single player with Super Bowl experience, was seeking to establish a legacy of their own.
The defense believed they were among the greatest to ever strap on helmets and were exceedingly cognizant that a strong showing against the Broncos would place them on that subjective list. They are inarguably part of the discussion.
“Just put us in that conversation,” said the Seahawks’ estimable cornerback Richard Sherman amidst a joyous celebration.
Linebacker Malcolm Smith, the game’s MVP, who returned an interception for 69 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to give the Seahawks a 22-0 lead, has forced his way into the dialogue as one of the best in the league at his position.
“I always imagined myself making great plays,” said Smith.
As superior as the defensive demonstration was, the franchise’s first Super Bowl win was a consummate team victory led by their exceptional head coach, Pete Carroll. Every unit was sensational, but quarterback Russell Wilson, who many thought deserved the MVP in going 18-25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns, and the electric wide receiver Percy Harvin, who returned the second half opening kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown, stood above nearly everyone.
“I told the guys, ‘Why not us?’” Wilson recalled saying to his teammates last summer regarding being Super Bowl champions. He had often visualized the moment.