Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium was one of the most anticipated games in recent football history as Peyton Manning searched for his second Super Bowl title, but the game had a result that few saw coming.
The Seattle Seahawks defense stifled Manning, and errors by the Denver Bronco’s special teams and defensive units resulted in an overpowering 43-8 victory for the Seahawks, as they earned the franchise’s first Super Bowl title.
“I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” said Ramapo junior Greg Mascola. “Before the game, there was so much hype about Peyton and his legacy. A lot of people wanted him to win.”
The game started on the wrong foot for Denver, as a bad snap on their first offensive play resulted in a safety and an early 2-0 lead for Seattle, who took the lead and ran with it.
Second year quarterback Russell Wilson led his team to victory with 18 completions on 25 passing attempts for 206 yards and two touchdown passes.
He rushed for another 26 yards, at an average of 8.7 yards a carry. His ability to get out of the pocket to make plays extended many of the Seahawks drives, earning first downs and allowing them to pile on points.
While the Seahawks were able to put up a dominating offensive performance, it was their excellent defensive play that earned them a win against Manning’s high-powered Bronco offense.
The Seahawks tight coverage limited Manning’s options, forcing him to throw close to the line of scrimmage. His receivers were unable to gain many yards after making a catch. The result was eight points for an offense that put up 606 during the regular season.
“I think that Seattle’s defense was just the perfect match for the Bronco’s offense. It was the best defense in the league versus the best offense, and the defense won,” Mascola said.
Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith was named the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player as he ran an interception for a touchdown from his own 30-yard line and recovered a fumble. Smith became the first linebacker to be named Super Bowl MVP since Ray Lewis in 2001.
“It really speaks to how big of an influence he made on the game. When you look back, the last four MVP’s have been quarterbacks,” Mascola said.
Richard Sherman, the self-proclaimed best cornerback in the National Football League, made that case as Manning very rarely threw to him, even in the games most desperate moments.
In the American Football Conference Championship game, Manning and the Broncos were able to out pass fellow elite quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, as Manning threw for 400-yards.
But the Broncos couldn’t find a way to get past Smith, Sherman and the rest of the Seahawk defense. The result was the most lopsided Super Bowl since 1993, when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII.