Whether it be in rain, snow, or clear skies, Super Bowl XLVIII was still going to be played. However many could not predict what was about to happen in the swamplands of East Rutherford, NJ
By Ryan Fox --- @Spider_Fox87
At the beginning of September in 2013, 32 were competing for the convenient title as NFL Champions. On February 2 of 2014, only 2 teams remained. Representing the AFC was the Denver Broncos, the offensive juggernaut with the NFL MVP, QB Peyton Manning, leading the way. Representing the NFC was the Seattle Seahawks, a team who pride themselves on a loud, physical style of play. A classic showdown between offense and defense where the winner would claim football while loser could only stew about what could have been.
Former New York Jets QB and Super Bowl III MVP Joe Namath was the one who did the coin toss with each team’s captains at midfield. Seattle ended up winning the toss. But instead of electing to take the opening kickoff, they deferred to the second half. That meant Denver and their high-powered offense would take to the field first. But as they took the field, it seemed like the plug was pulled on them.
On their first possession of the game, Peyton Manning was going through his pre-snap audible routine. But as he was stepping up to the line to make another audible, center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball early. Though Moreno recovered the ball, he recovered the ball in the end zone. Safety, 2-0 Seattle. Following the punt afterwards, Seattle drove down to the Bronco’s 9 yard line. However the Broncos held them to just a 31-yard Steven Hauschka field goal after surviving a challenge by Seahawk’s head coach Pete Carroll on 3rd and 6. Still they trailed 5-0.
Denver got the ball back and could only muster a quick 3 and out, even after starting on the 35-yard line due to a Seattle penalty during the kickoff. But where the offense stalled, the Broncos defense were able to hold the Seattle offense to another Steven Hauschka field goal 33-yard. The first quarter ended with Seattle getting the ball back on the Denver 37 after a Manning interception and up 8-0.
At the start of the second quarter, Seattle kept driving down the Broncos’ side of the field. On 3rd and 4 from the Broncos’ 5, the Broncos defense looked like they were going to force another field goal. Instead they were called for pass interference in the end zone, putting the ball on the Broncos 2. It only took two attempts for RB Marshawn Lynch to punch it in to put the Seahawks up 15-0.
But it seemed like the Broncos’ fortune was about to change on the ensuing drive. Starting from their 15 yard line, they were able to drive it to the Seattle 32. However the Broncos stalled yet again and on 3rd and 13, Manning was picked off by LB Malcolm Smith and took it back 69-yards for a touchdown to make it 22-0 in Seattle’s favor. Denver again drove down deep into Seattle territory, only to turn the ball over on downs. Seattle mercifully ran out the remaining minute in the second quarter to go into halftime still up 22 to 0.
After the Meadowlands crowd was treated to the Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers halftime show, play was able to resume. The second half opened up with Seattle getting the ball back for their first kick return of the game. But WR/KR Percy Harvin took the short kickoff on a high bounce and returned it 87-yards for a touchdown to make it 29-0 after 12 seconds had passed.
Again Denver tried to ring the bell and rise to the challenge. However the miscues continued to plague the Broncos’ offensive. On a 1st and 10 from the Seattle 44, Manning hooked up with WR Demariyus Thomas for a 23-yard gain. But before he had a chance to get out of bounds, Thomas had the ball punched out by safety Kam Chancellor. It was then recovered by LB Malcom Smith, his second turnover recovered for the game. Then 5 plays and a little less than 3 minutes later, Wilson hooked up with WR Jermaine Kearse for a 23-yard score.
Then for a moment, it seemed like the football gods took pity on the Denver Broncos. It took 3 quarters for the Broncos to score, going on a 6-play 80-yard drive that was capped off with a Manning-Thomas hook up for a 14-yard score. The Broncos were able to convert the ensuing 2-point conversion, making it 36-8 and preventing a shutout from occurring.
With the fourth and final quarter in play, the Broncos faithful were hoping that score would provide a form of momentum for their team. But the Seahawks were able to pull the reins on the Broncos. They were able to recover the ensuing onside kick attempt and went on a 5-play 48-yard drive that was capped off by 10-yard pass from Wilson to WR Doug Baldwin. The score then became 43-8 as all hope was fading fast for Denver.
Towards the end of the game, Seattle decided to call off the attack dogs. They pulled their starters and put in the back-ups to finish off one of the more lopsided Super Bowls. However even with the back-ups in, Denver could only just run out the clock. The final gun was shot as the final score was Seattle 43 and Denver 8.
The MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII was none other than LB Malcom Smith, becoming the third LB in NFL history to win the MVP award since Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V and Ray Lewis in Super Bowl XXXV. He finished the game with 9 total tackles (5 solo and 4 assisted) with 1 pass deflected, a 69-yard interception returned for a touchdown, and a fumble recovery that led to a Seattle score.
After being robbed in Super Bowl XL in Detroit, MI all those years ago, the Seahawks were able to claim their first championship in the franchise’s 39 years of existence. Pete Carroll, a man who was chased out of the professional coaching rankings all those years ago, got to hoist the Lombardi with his players. Russell Wilson, who was deemed too short to be able to play quarterback in the NFL, was now standing on the NFL’s biggest stage. Whether you liked them or hated them, cheered for them or rooted against them, one thing is for certain. The Seattle Seahawks are the 2013-14 NFL Champions of the world.
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