Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the weekend’s NFL action in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @Li495Akiem.
It goes without saying, Realists, that Super Bowls are not supposed to be won in such a dominating fashion. But if that were the case, why play Super Bowls in the first place?
When they are, it makes you think that one team throughout the week was practicing and studying game film when the only film the other saw were NFL Films highlights of the previous 47 Super Bowls…
…along with Mad Men and Breaking Bad reruns.
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks came into this game in different ways. Seattle defeated their division rival San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game after Richard Sherman and Malcolm Smith teamed up to intercept a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree.
It also led to a much-ballyhooed (and at times overblown) interview between Sherman and Erin Andrews in which he dissed Crabtree (even though, as most who have played professional sports know, it’s what you do when you’re in the heat of the moment).
The Broncos defeated the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since John Elway’s last year in the league as Denver’s quarterback.
No so-called controversial interviews with the Broncos.
So, our Super Bowl matchup was set…as this Realist predicted at the outset of the regular season, Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks for the Lombardi Trophy from New York!
Or is it New Jersey?
New York? New Jersey? (Hudson River, settle this! Whose Super Bowl is this? NY’s or NJ’s?)
Actually, the Super Bowl was co-hosted by both New York and New Jersey as it was the first Big Game in history to be hosted by two states…
And, hopefully, will be again.
The media swarming began the moment both teams arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport. It, of course, reached its apex on media day when Marshawn Lynch was criticized heavily for not fully participating. Lynch practically admitted that the only reason he went to media day was so he would not be fined again by the NFL as he was at the end of the regular season for “not speaking to the press”—whatever that means…
Meanwhile, for the Broncos—the press simply wanted to know how many “Omahas” Peyton Manning would drop in his media day session (which took place indoors at the Prudential Center in Newark instead of outdoors at East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium).
This was set up to be one of the great all-time Super Bowls. The Denver Broncos had the league’s number one offense while the Seattle Seahawks had the NFL’s number one defense. It was a literally a case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.
It was also a case of pupils vs. teachers. The Denver Broncos are a veteran-laden team with several of its top players having Super Bowl experience. No Seattle Seahawks, coming into this final Sunday of the season, ever had experience playing in a Super Bowl.
And, surprisingly, weather did not play any role in this Super Bowl despite concerns that it would. In fact, it was actually warmer in the greater New York City area for gameday than it was in either Denver, Colorado or Seattle, Washington.
Meaning the one Super Bowl that a Peyton Manning led team was victorious in (the 2006-07 Indianapolis Colts that defeated the Chicago Bears) had worse conditions in Miami than the manufactured weather crisis that was supposed to strike the New York/New Jersey Tri-State area for Super Bowl Sunday.
No more Super Bowls for Miami, right? Right?
Most predictions for this one were close, because, it’s what we expect out of Super Bowls. Some gave it to the Broncos because of the offense, while others felt it was advantage Seahawks on account of the weather (which again, was proven to be a nonfactor).
Both teams already played earlier in the year at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants. Both won, so this stadium is familiar real estate for both teams this year.
Manning was coming off one of the greatest (if not the greatest) statistical season for a quarterback in history, so winning his second Super Bowl would put him further up the list in terms of all-time great QBs. He’s already there—simply his rank is what is up for debate.
The Broncos also had a very good game plan coming into this one. Stop Marshawn Lynch. Don’t allow him to enter Beast Mode. Make Russell Wilson throw the football if they are going to defeat Denver.
Then, as Richard Sherman’s commercial for Beats by Dre said, “Enough Talk. Time to Play.”
Pregame ceremonies featured the Garden State’s own Queen Latifah performing “America, the Beautiful”, a Fox promo in where football, military, and political luminaries recited the Declaration of Independence, and Renee Fleming singing the National Anthem.
Then, “Broadway” Joe Namath did the official coin toss, initially prior to what either team called. Seattle called tails and won the toss, deciding to defer to the Broncos.
Only Joe Namath. (Insert Suzy Kolber joke here)
They did defer and the Broncos started off with the ball at their 14 yard line. But, the first play would be so indicative of things to come for Denver for the rest of the night.
A botched snap from Manny Ramirez (wrong “Manny being Manny”), possibly caused on account of miscommunication on the part of the offense, wound up in the end zone where it was recovered by Knowshon Moreno. He was tackled by Cliff Avril for a safety. 2-0 Seahawks, 12 seconds into the game.
The first Seattle drive was a bit more conventional as they drove to the Broncos’ 9 yard line, only to settle for a 31 yard field goal from the foot of Steven Hauschka. That increased the score to 5-0 Marin…err…I mean Seahawks over the Rocki…err…I mean Broncos.
The Broncos’ next possession resulted in a 3 and out and the Seahawks moved the ball deep into Denver territory again. They were at the Broncos’ six yard line, but were flagged for offensive holding. Seattle didn’t advance past the 14, so Hauschka had to kick another field goal—this one from 33 yards away to increase the Seahawks’ advantage to 8-0.
As for the Broncos, things only got from bad to worse. The Seattle domination early was apparent when on a 3rd and 7 play from their own 23, Manning was intercepted on a terrible pass that found Kam Chancellor. This was towards the end of the first quarter.
The Seahawks began their next drive on the Denver 37 yard line. They needed a touchdown here, because settling for field goals against Manning is like asking to get beat (or that’s how it normally goes nine times out of 10).
After a 3rd and 4 from the 5 yard line was incomplete from Russell Wilson to Golden Tate, it looked like Seattle would settle for 3 again. Except that Tony Carter was flagged for defensive pass interference, putting the Hawks at the 1 yard line.
Two Marshawn Lynch runs later, Seattle increased its advantage to 15-0.
It was all Seattle all the time up to that point. But, one had to think that the Broncos would get back into this game. The ensuing Denver drive seemed to indicate just that. Manning was finding his receivers and was moving the chains effectively for the first time all game. They got to the Seahawks’ 32 yard line, but on a 3rd and 13 from the 35, Manning’s pass was tipped in the air and intercepted by Malcolm Smith, who turned it into a Pick 6. 22-0 Seattle.
More fireworks as well from the Space Needle, which shot fireworks into the air for every team their beloved Seahawks scored a touchdown.
The next drive, the Broncos would go deep into Seattle territory again, and were in a 4th and 2 situation from the Seahawks’ 19 yard line. But, instead of sending out Matt Prater to attempt a field, they went for it on 4th down, only for Manning to not complete his pass. Meaning it was 22-0 heading into Bruno Mars’ halftime performance.
This Realist was actually surprised at Bruno Mars’ halftime show. It was very good. The Red Hot Chili Peppers also performed as special guests. The Realist wonders if the Hawaiian-born Mars can throw a football, because if he can and his arm is as good as his vocal pipes, the Broncos needed him for the second half.
Throughout this game up to this point, the Seahawks were making the Broncos feel as if they had been “locked out of heaven”. Even worse than being down 22-0, the Seahawks would get the ball to start the second half.
What happened next was something the Emerald City will surely “treasure”.
The opening kickoff return for the second half was returned by Percy Harvin, who was been on an on-again-off-again injury bug story for the Seahawks this year. He returned the ball 87 yards for a touchdown that increased the Seahawks’ lead to 29-0, again, 12 seconds into the half.
“Today I don’t feel like doing anything…”—Broncos before this game, apparently.
Two Broncos possessions later, they would get, arguably, their best pass play of the game when Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas for 23 yards on a 1st and 10 from the 44 yard line. The only problem with that was it was stripped by Byron Maxwell and recovered by Malcolm Smith.
Seattle would get the ball back at their 42 yard line, and convert the Denver turnover into points when Wilson found Jermaine Kearse for 23 yards on a 1st and 10 from the 23. 36-0 Seahawks.
Did someone tell us that this game was moved to CenturyLink Field by mistake? I thought it was in New York/New Jersey.
The Broncos finally scored on their ensuing possession as the third quarter reached its conclusion when Manning threw to DeMaryius Thomas for 14 yards for a Denver TD. 36-6 Seahawks. Their ensuing two point conversion attempt was also successful as Manning threw to Wes Welker who reached the end zone. 36-8 Seahawks.
But, even if there was merely a slight glimmer of hope that the Broncos would be able to complete, arguably, the most miraculous comeback in NFL history, those hopes were dashed courtesy of Seattle’s next possession. To begin the fourth quarter, they ran 5 plays in just over three minutes that finished with Wilson finding Doug Baldwin for a 10 yard touchdown. 43-8 Seahawks.
The next Broncos drive, similar to most of them for the game, resulted in nothing. But, on a 2nd and 10 from the Denver 13, Manning couldn’t complete a pass intended for Demaryius Thomas, who was covered by Richard Sherman. Sherman was injured on the play and was carried off the field, only to be seen on crutches a few moments later.
You know a butt kicking is going on when the team inflicting said butt kicking begins putting in its backups. Robert Turbin came into the game for the Seahawks as Marshawn Lynch checked out.
Nothing went the Broncos’ way this game. At this point, this Realist was honestly only watching to see the commercials. Dannon Oikos (Full House), Coca-Cola (America, the Beautiful being sung in multiple languages), Turbotax (Prom), Beats (Ellen DeGeneres/Goldilocks), Budweiser’s Puppy Love and T-Mobile’s Tebow spot were the best, by the way.
And the Puppy Bowl turned out to be better than the Super Bowl. Denver performed so badly, they should’ve been forced to take New Jersey Transit from MetLife Stadium into Manhattan. Jersey’s transit issues were so bad that a few people on their way to the game actually collapsed at Secaucus Junction due to excessive heat.
With 5:19 to play in the game, the Broncos went back on the field on offense. On a 4th and 11 play from their 30, Manning was sacked by Chris Clemons for a loss of seven yards. The sack resulted in a fumble by Manning which was recovered by Clinton McDonald.
Seattle’s final possession of the game would see Tarvaris Jackson in at quarterback. Also known as the universal symbol in the NFL of a major butt kicking.
On the final drive of the game, Manning threw to C.J. Anderson on a 1st and 10 from the Denver 24 for 14 yards to the 38. It was his 34th completion of the game, which set a new Super Bowl record, but it was somewhat inflated because the Broncos had to throw all game as they were behind all game.
Including at the end where the score was 43-8 Seahawks in a laugher. In addition to two titles from the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, and the 1979 Seattle Supersonics (who The Realist hopes returns to the NBA soon), the Seahawks have given Seattle their fourth professional sports championship.
Just for the record, this does nothing to hurt Peyton Manning’s legacy, media. He’s still going into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot and will still be remembered as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. So, let’s end that discussion before it even has a chance to begin.
This game, Seattle looked like they were the seasoned veterans and the Broncos appeared to be the team that was inexperienced. Youth won out in this case. Heading into the offseason, Seattle has to find ways to resign both Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman. Wilson shouldn’t be a problem as he’s officially their franchise quarterback. Sherman may be, but we know both will demand top dollar from the Seahawks.
The Seahawks should give it to them—if they still want to win.
In addition to the Hawks scoring 12 seconds into both halves, Russell Wilson finished with a fitting stat line—18 for 25 passing with 2 touchdowns…on 206 yards passing. 206—the area code for Seattle.
Harvin, who had a case for MVP, only had two rushing attempts, but for 45 yards not counting his 87 yard kickoff return to start the second half. Lynch carried the ball 15 times for 39 yards and one touchdown. Containing Beast Mode was practically the only thing Denver did right defensively all game.
Wilson also carried the ball himself 3 times for 26 yards. Turbin had 9 carries for 25 yards.
Doug Baldwin had five receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown. Jermaine Kearse caught four passes for 65 yards and one touchdown.
The MVP award for this game was not awarded to an offensive player. It was Malcolm Smith who get the honor as he had 10 tackles, an interception for a touchdown, and a fumble recovery. It is the first time a linebacker won Super Bowl MVP since Ray Lewis did it for the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 (also in a blowout—34-7 over the Giants, Super Bowl XXXV). The other was Chuck Howley of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V.
Manning was 34/49 passing for 280 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Knowshon Moreno only had 5 carries all game for 17 yards. DeMaryius Thomas did set a Super Bowl record with 13 receptions. He also had 118 yards and one touchdown. Welker caught 8 passes for 84 yards.
The Seahawks are champions, and a parade has already been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Downtown Seattle at 11am. That’s 2pm, Philadelphia time, of course.
As for next season, any of us Realists want to make predictions for next year’s Super Bowl that will be in Phoenix/Glendale at University of Phoenix Stadium? Or what about the season opener on Thursday Night on NBC?
It has to be 49ers vs. Seahawks from CenturyLink Field, right?
Only time will tell, like it has told us recently that the Seattle Seahawks are 2013-2014 Super Bowl Champions. The Realist says Congrats!
Thanks to all Section 215 readers for following the Monday Morning Realist throughout the 2013-2014 football season. It was a blast! Football season may be over, but sports still goes on, Realists. We’re only a few days away from the Sochi Olympics, the NBA’s All-Star Game is upon us, as well as Nascar, and MLB pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training.
As The Realist says at the end of every football season, there’s life after the NFL.