BY CHAYIM TAUBER
The highly anticipated match-up of the NFL’s best offense and defense went awry from the very first snap of the game (a case of “Manny being Manny”). That Tim Tebow was the most successful Broncos Quarterback at Super Bowl XLVIII ought to tell you something.
This game was the single worst Super Bowl in NFL history.
An opening snap that sailed three feet high and into the end-zone for a safety was immediately followed by a Steven Hauschka field goal. Then came a punt. Then consecutive interceptions, the former leading to a Marshawn Lynch touchdown, the latter coming in the form of a pick-six. When the dust settled and as the stage was being set for Bruno Mars’ halftime show, the score was 22-0. It was a hideous first half but there was still a glimmer of hope considering that arguably the greatest quarterback of all time had halftime to figure things out and set things right.
Bruno Mars (joined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers) stole the show at halftime, easily the best part of the game to that point. Bruno went through a short set-list: “Locked out of Heaven,” “Treasure,” “Runaway Baby” (in which he paid homage James Brown and the Isley Brothers), and finished with his signature “Just the Way You Are” after a brief, high-energy rendition of “Give it Away Now” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Then, it was all over and within the span of seconds – one kickoff to the oft-injured and always dangerous Percy Harvin brought everyone back to reality and back to the methodical slaughter that was occurring on the field. Harvin took the second half kickoff to the house to make the score 29-0. An exchange of punts followed by yet another Denver turnover (this time a fumble by star wideout Demayrius Thomas) led to yet another Seattle touchdown and essentially iced the game at 36-0.
If Peyton could have thrown in a towel at that point, he probably would have, but that undoubtedly would have been intercepted by the Seahawks as well.
The Broncos got a touchdown the next possession but it was the very definition of “too little, too late.” Peyton’s legacy took irreparable damage in the eyes of many as he looked utterly devastated and completely helpless to stop what was one of the top defensive showings in Super Bowl history (along with the ’85 Bears and 2000 Ravens).
This wasn’t an example of Peyton unraveling though. “Good defense beating good offense” can be further simplified to “whoever wins on the line will win the game.” Peyton’s offensive line was woeful. Seeing a Manning rushed into throwing interceptions behind a shoddy offensive line is nothing new for Metlife Stadium this year, but it was apparent early on, as in opening snap early on, just how badly the Broncos line could cost them. The special-teams was awful. The ball-security was terrible.
Never has a quarterback had to do less to win a Super Bowl than Russell Wilson. His only job was to hand the ball off and not turn the ball over. He did have a gorgeous floater to Doug Baldwin down the sideline and Jermaine Kearse turned an underneath pass into a dizzying, Tazmanian Devil-like touchdown. It was all elementary however as the Broncos offensive line and their inability to hold onto the ball damned them from the beginning.
Though Peyton can’t be granted a full pardon, he did not play well, I challenge those that are sliding Peyton further down their “All-Time Greatest Quarterbacks List” to pick another quarterback that could have won a Super Bowl against a top-ranked defense without an offensive line. On an O-line with several Pro Bowlers, Tom Brady’s mortality was highlighted twice by a superior Giants defensive front. Montana had time, Elway had time, Young had time, Favre had time…. Quarterbacks win games by throwing the ball and if they’re not allowed to do that…
This Super Bowl will go down as one of if not the worst Super Bowl of all time. The lack of competitiveness, the sloppiness, the execution of an iconic quarterback (and to many, his legacy), and even the commercials, cumulatively made this year’s Super Bowl the worst watch in the sport’s illustrious history.