It wasn’t so much that the Seahawks beat the Broncos by 35 points that was so impressive, it was that they seemed to win every play. We’ll never know how much the errant snap and resulting safety on the game’s opening play determined the day’s course of events. Confidence is often the decisive factor in a sporting event, and it is hard to maintain a high level of confidence when you mess up your first play so badly. The next time the Broncos got the ball, their runners were swarmed at or near the line of scrimmage; they weren’t tackled by one Seahawk, there were three on hand, which spoke to how dominant their defensive line was. The fact that Seattle had trouble scoring touchdowns was initially cause for worry, but then the defense took care of that, as well, intercepting and taking a Manning pass to the house.
If the Broncos were the best the NFL could come up with to oppose the Seahawks – and, indeed, they were the favored team – does the Super Bowl portend a Seattle dynasty? Their best players are all young, quarterback Russell Wilson will surely get even better and their best offensive threat, Percy Harvin, hardly even played this year. It’s possible, but the NFL is not kind to potential dynasties. Injuries, salary caps and the annual influx of possible game-changers through the draft all work against them. Even more to the point is the difficulty Seattle had in even reaching the Super Bowl this year. If Kaepernick’s pass to Crabtree had been one foot higher, the 49ers would have played for the title, not the Seahawks. And that game was played in Seattle. In fact, if there is one lesson to take away from the Super Bowl for next year, it is probably that the Broncos will not be back, and may have trouble even making the playoffs. The AFC was decidedly the weaker division this year, but even so, Peyton Manning started to look old and, after the best statistical year a quarterback has ever had, has only one direction to go in.
Despite the non-competitive nature of the game, I stayed to the end, as did most of America. Why? For me, it was simply to marvel at the excellence of the Seahawks. Watching a team play its absolute best in the most important game of the year is a satisfying sight. And it was fun to learn the players and see who would make the next big play. And, unfortunately, must say it was somewhat gratifying to watch Manning’s difficult night. He has been so good for so long that one need not feel sorry for him. And, frankly, the way he audibles at the line on each play is rather annoying. He’s been good, but Russell Wilson, let alone Colin Kaepernick, is more fun to watch.