Can we stop talking about Peyton Manning and his legacy? You saw the game. You saw the dominance. Now people can stop talking about the overblown legacy of Peyton Manning and get to discussing just how great the Seattle Seahawks’ defense is.
It is overdue. For the last two weeks it has been an endless stream of Manning suck-up stories by the media and an overdone non-story line about what Seattle Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said after his team had kicked Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers in the teeth with a victory in the NFC title game. Most in the media had it in their minds to prosecute Sherman unmercifully with racist encrypted overtures while lifting Manning to the cusp of sainthood.
In the eyes of many, Sherman looked and acted like a “thug” for what he said about 49ers’ wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The enduring Manning legacy talk mushroomed into something ridiculous and out of control. So the angle of the storyline leading into the Super Bowl was that “thug” Sherman versus the “class” of Manning. Of course, this just fired up the bases of the Seahawks.
It also served as a wake up call about the portrayal of certain athletes in our society.
All this did was rally the Seahawks even more so to dial in to the task at hand: Shut down Manning and his offensive weapons and shut up the haters. Sherman, Earl Thomas and the rest of the Seahawks’ massively talented defensive unit did both, roughing up Manning and putting a lock down job on his receivers to the tune of a 43-8 win. The final score doesn’t do the Seahawks’ justice for the overall clamp job they put on the Broncos.
Holding down a team that averaged nearly 37 points a game to just eight in the biggest game is historical in magnitude.
This was supposed to be the Super Bowl of all Super Bowls; the Denver Broncos and the No. 1 offense going up against the No. 1 defense in the NFL. Under normal circumstances, smart people will hedge their thoughts with the defense over the offense.
But this year’s Super Bowl was anything but normal as this was supposed to be the swan song coronation of Manning as the greatest quarterback ever in the history of the NFL. Many experts already had Manning’s name etched on the MVP trophy. This is why they play the game. Nothing is etched in stone until you play the game.
And for Manning and the Denver Broncos, all the hype, all hyperbole about the greatness of their record-breaking offense was beaten down to an orange pulp by that hard-hitting defense of the Seahawks. DeMaryius Thomas is probably shaking off the cobwebs from that hit Seattle safety Kam Chancellor laid on him in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Wide receiver Wes Welker felt the pain brought by Chancellor later in the game. The message sent to the Broncos’ receiving corps that Chancellor and the rest of the Seahawks sent throughout the game was simple. Don’t come across the middle with that weak stuff or be prepared to get a licking.
That is something the Broncos hadn’t experienced during the regular season. The Broncos had not been hit so hard and weren’t used to that type of speed and physicality the Seahawks brought to the game. One thing Manning and the Broncos now understand about the Seahawks is that you are not going to throw ducks against them.
This game was pretty much over when linebacker Malcolm Smith took a weak pass from Manning to the house for a 69-yard pick-six in the second quarter, giving the Seahawks a 22-0 lead they took into halftime. Playing catch up against the No. 1 ranked defense would be a difficult task for quarterback. For Manning, it was a process of being dethroned instead of being celebrated.