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20 Thoughts From Super Bowl XLVIII

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

20 thoughts ranging from Seattle’s defense, Denver’s offense, commercials prop bets and more.

20 Thoughts From Super  Bowl XLVIII

The Super Bowl consumed all of our attention spans yesterday. In an outcome that was really quite a surprise to me, the Seattle Seahawks obliterated the Denver Broncos 43-8. From the opening offensive snap, Seattle had control of the game and never let up. To finally cleanse myself of everything, here is a list of 20 thoughts on all things Super Bowl.

1. Seattle's defense was so much better than I thought it could be.

From the moment the Super Bowl matchup was in place, I had painted a picture of the outcome in my head. Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense was just too good for even a great defense like Seattle. There were too many weapons. Peyton could adjust to whatever they threw at him. He wouldn't have to force things downfield and would be comfortable taking what the defense gave him. I couldn't have been more wrong. The Seahawks defensive front made Manning feel uncomfortable all night long, hitting him and pressuring him when others hadn't. Richard Sherman and the rest of the Seahawks secondary didn't give Peyton much on the outside, and when Manning did check down the defense was all over that. They took away everything that made that offense dangerous and were vocal about it. The Seahawks manhandled the Broncos, and it all started with their defense.

2. I'm so happy that a defensive player won Super Bowl MVP.

Any number of Seahawks defenders were worthy of the award. Cliff Avril was the most disruptive presence on the line in my opinion (similar to how Justin Tuck was able to get to Tom Brady during Super Bowl XLII).  Avril was the driving force behind both of Peyton Manning's interceptions, but the man that returned one for a touchdown to nearly ice things at the first half, Malcolm Smith. In addition to that momentum crushing pick-six, Smith added 10 tackles (six of them solo). It's a shame he had to wait until after the Fox crew interviewed Russell Wilson, but his MVP was well-deserved.

3. Peyton Manning's legacy isn't tarnished in my eyes.

I don't buy into the rationale that a quarterback needs to win Super Bowls to solidify his legacy as Greatest of All Time. Obviously that helps, but Peyton's resumé speaks for itself. He's got a Super Bowl ring, he has 5 MVP awards, and it isn't like he has accumulated all of his stats on bad teams. Obviously his postseason record leaves a lot to be desired, but that doesn't discount what Manning has been able to accomplish over the span of his entire career. For my money, Peyton is still the best QB I've seen in my young life, and he deserves consideration among the pantheon of great QBs.

4. That being said, Manning played pretty poorly last night.

The loss doesn't ride solely on Manning, but he really didn't help his cause for much of the night. Manning made some terrible decisions with the football and was lucky he was only intercepted twice. He seemed out of sorts for extended stretches (especially due to Seattle's pass rush). Even with all of that, he still ended up breaking the Super Bowl record for completions with 34 and threw for 279 yards.

5. Russell Wilson played a brilliant game.

I thought nerves might get to the second-year quarterback, but he was even more composed than Manning. Wilson made some great throws, especially on third downs, and he used his feet wisely to extend plays and pick up some more first downs. He didn't really make any mistakes. He guided the Seahawks through an extremely fortuitous first half and made some big plays to help cement the victory in the second half. It feels like we'll be seeing Wilson back on this stage after he handled things so effortlessly last night.

6. The Broncos played like they didn't want to lose.

From the opening offensive snap (which sailed over Peyton Manning's head and into the end zone for a safety), Denver appeared to be on the defensive. They just couldn't get out of their own way. First it was the safety. Then the offense couldn't get anything going. The defense held Seattle to field goals but didn't show signs of being able to slow down. Then the pick-six followed by no points to end the half. Then special teams gave up a return touchdown to start the second half. Demaryius Thomas fumbled the ball on the only potentially game-changing play of the game for the offense. Nothing was going right, and a lot of that was due to how conservative Denver looked all game. You have to keep your head on a swivel when you find yourself in a vicious cock fight, and the Broncos didn't do that.

7. Percy Harvin was a difference maker.

I didn't expect Percy Harvin to be the spark plug for Seattle, but he was offensively early on. Harvin ended up leading the Seahawks in rushing yards last night with 45 yards on two carries (both end-arounds) that really helped add variety to the Seahawks game plan. Then, the icing on top was his return touchdown to start the second half. That made it 29-0 right off the bat and pretty much ended the game right there.

8. Erick Decker was a no-show.

Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker were both well-represented in the pass game, but Richard Sherman did a hell of a job keeping Decker off the books. Decker only caught one pass for a measly six yards 

9. Most Impressive Play of the Game: Jermaine Kearse's TD Catch.

[GIF via Hayden Bird]

10. What You'll See Everywhere Instead of That Play: Peyton Manning Puppy Face

11. Bruno Mars Almost Deserved Super Bowl MVP

I had faith that Bruno Mars would deliver during the halftime show, but my delight exceeded my expectations. Mars is just a fantastic performer through and through. Everything about the show was just cool: the moving drum stage to start, the fantastic backing band with their coordinated pelvic thrusts, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and their air-jamming, and finally ending on a high note with "Just The Way You Are." Everything about the show had me riveted. Bravo, Bruno.

12. Opera Singer Renée Fleming Was Also Great During the National Anthem

13. The Red Hot Chili Peppers Were My Favorite Prop Bet

At the Super Bowl party I attended, I got a chance to peek at some of the prop bets a friend bet on at work. There were some great ones there, like whether or not Knowshon Moreno would cry during the National Anthem, whether the first commercial would be for beer/other, or whether Bruno Mars would come out wearing a fedora. My favorite prop bet, however, had to be whether or not a member of Red Hot Chili Peppers came out shirtless. Because of the fortunate weather, both Anthony Kiedis and Flea performed without shirts.

14. Top Three Commercials:

Doritos Time Machine

Wonderful Pistachios Stephen Colbert

Cheerios Gracie

15. Bottom Three Commercials:

Hyundai Dad's Sixth Sense

Kia Morpheus

Butterfingers Couple's Therapy

16. We Should Have Seen THIS Commercial [via Deadspin]

17. Joe Namath's Coin Toss Was Everything

The jacket. Tossing the coin before the Seahawks made the call. The jacket. Namath should do the coin toss every year until he dies.

18. Seattle could probably repeat.

The Seahawks are young all over the place, especially on defense. Pete Carroll is going to have this same nucleus in tact next year, and even though there are several challengers in the NFC, I don't know how many are going to be able to get through Seattle. 

19. I think Denver could get back as well.

Though a friend did posit an interesting theory about this awful loss just sending the Broncos franchise into a spiral of doom a la the Oakland Raiders after getting destroyed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I think the Broncos will be able to bounce back from this. The offensive core is still young, they will get Von Miller and other defensive pieces back next year, and though Manning probably won't replicate his numbers from last season, he will still be an upper echelon QB. Denver will be right in the thick of it next year.

20. This game was really, really boring.

Aside from the shock of Seattle beating Denver by so much, the lopsidedness tore away any of the drama or intrigue. There were nice plays, but without a tight score, there was really no incentive to watch the fourth quarter (even though I did). But we've been spoiled with ultra-competitive Super Bowls for much of this century. A dud was bound to pop up eventually, and the most shocking part was that it was this one. I really thought this one would come down to the very end.

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