The B-Side Stats of Super Bowl XLVIII

Football — By on February 3, 2014 at 6:11 AM

The coin tosses in the 48 Super Bowls have been split right down the middle – 24 heads, 24 tails. Like the toss, the game’s random outcome shouldn’t be surprising. This game still shocked us.

Super Bowl XLVIII

Super Bowl XLVIII

The 2013-14 NFL season came to a close with one of the most lopsided scores in the history of the Super Bowl.  The Seattle Seahawks would hoist the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy by knocking off the Denver Broncos 43-8. Experts split down the middle for two weeks predicting and expecting a close but entertaining game of #1 offense v. #1 defense solid football. Would Peyton Manning challenge Richard Sherman with the long ball? Would the LOB contain those tall, strong Denver receivers? Those were the questions, but no one asked if Peyton could keep up.

The first offensive series started and within 12 seconds fans witnessed what would be a preview of the entire game. The 2-pts Seattle scored on the clumsy safety was a confidence boost for the Hawks, though they hardly needed one. The ball lofted over the head of Manning into the end zone for a safety, setting up the 5’11” Russell Wilson to take the field quickly and efficiently adding 3 more points. The B-Side stats started the game – fastest score ever in a Super Bowl and the only time a 5-point score would sit in the stat line. The Seahawks played with a confident swagger maintaining a unified front against all the nonbelievers which they labeled everyone but the 12th man. The Broncos never appeared to loosen up or find it’s rhythm and critics began the to sing the familiar “Peyton Can’t Win Big Ones” tune.

That’s not to say that the Broncos didn’t play a great game of catch. Denver’s offense set records with Peyton’s 36 completed passes and Demaryius Thomas’s 13 catches, both the most ever in a Super Bowl. None of that mattered because the B-Side stats. Manning would also find that Malcolm Smith’s 69-yard pick-6 would be 2nd only to the Tracy Porter 74-yard pick six that he threw in Super Bowl XLIV.

The number 12 would hit again at the beginning of the second half as Percy Harvin came out of locker room, on to the field and 12 seconds later would score on a kickoff return, taking the fastest record from Devin Hester (14 seconds.) Weeks past the concussion that threatened his opportunity to even suit up, the receiver shredded the Broncos special teams and dazzled the already electric crowd, some of them still dancing to Bruno Mars songs.

READ: Super Bowl XLVIII: Quarterly analysis of Seahawks’ 43-8 beating of Broncos, Nate Davis, USA Today

Russell Wilson’s 18-of-25 completed passes would yield 206 yards, roughly half of the number of Peyton covered in the AFC Championship game. But the B-Side would prove more crucial. No turnovers. That deserves repeating … no turnovers. The Seahawks offense didn’t attempt to break records, but rather set out to control the clock, hold the ball and keep Peyton cozy on the bench in the surprisingly warm New Jersey evening. In his post game interviews, Wilson was the giddiest we’ve ever seen, telling the “Why Not Us?” story over and over, referring to his Dad’s lessons and spirit that he shared with his teammates in that infamous players only meeting  at the start of the season. Coach Carroll said that he was cautioned during the scouting process to not be turned off by Wilson’s confident statements because the kid actually believed every word of what he was saying. This season would make us all believers.

With key interceptions in 4 of the last 5 games, Malcolm Smith goes from 7th round draft pick and younger brother of Steve to the Super Bowl MVP. Those were certainly his B-Side stats as he hadn’t picked a pass all season until late in the season when it mattered most.

You dream of winning the Super Bowl. But MVP? No. You put in the work and hope it’s enough. But, recently, you appreciate every opportunity that comes to you.” Malcolm Smith, Seahawks

Next season, if they vote Peyton Manning the MVP of the NFL, he should politely decline and offer it to another equally deserving player since it seems to be an omen. He won the last two awards as he twice lost the most important game on the biggest stage of the sport. His stats in this game were nearly the worst ever. The heaping amount of praise he received during the NFL Honors ceremony was quickly set aside once again for questions about his “legacy.” What’s most telling about his legacy is that if Peyton makes it back to the Super Bowl, it wouldn’t surprise a soul.

The Broncos now have the record for most Super Bowls lost with five big game defeats. The B-Side stat is the fact that got there seven times and have two trophies. Ask a Cleveland Browns fan or a Detroit Lions fan if they would trade places.

Until next season friends! And If the B-side reference is wasted on younger readers, ask your Mama.

  • Brian

    Nice comments. My take is Seattle was better, slightly better, but they had a better game plan, and they were better prepared so they blew them out. Denver could not win playing the way they had played all year and it is hard to accept that and change it. Takes some guts and they didn’t have the wherewithal to say, you know we can’t beat them trying to finesse them. We have to run the ball often and play field position. Some things I noticed: the stadium was loud. No way Manning could ever use those crazy words to change plays and boy, did he need that. Two early mistakes back to back: The guy should have never brought the ball out of the end zone. They started on like the 12 yard line. Way close to the crowd. Then the guy hiked it over Manning’s head. The center couldn’t hear in my view. Big mistake. 5-0 right away. I also thought it was better for Denver at first to throw Seattle off by not playing the regular no-huddle fast style. Against a defense that good you have to assume your won’t get a lot of chances. So, take your time and make the best of it. Don’t be ashamed to punt and play field position. Seattle’s offense is good but not great. Make them drive the ball. Denver gave them 5 points right away and then the pick was another 7 points. 12 points right there. No way you win. Little things I noticed too. On the pick play, Denver had 3rd and 3. That is a hard down to defend. However, Denver had a penalty and then it was 3rd and 8. Passing down. Seattle came with a bull rush, Manning panicked and threw the pick. Game was just about over then. Seattle was better so if a team is better you have to really change your game plan. You have to blow up accepted norms to try to disturb the rhythm of the game. Like when NC State beat Houston in 1983. NC State played to win. Denver didn’t play to win; they just figured that what they do would work. But what if it didn’t work, what then?