Thursday, February 06, 2014

:random: From Super Bowl to Super Blowout:: Super Bowl XLVIII - Seattle Sinks Denver

I was originally going to post this on HardDoor's Facebook Page, but I thought what I had to write was going to be lengthy, so I am posting here on the blog itself.

When making my Super Bowl prediction, I had chosen the Seattle Seahawks to prevail over the Denver Broncos. I considered them to be the stronger team overall, enough so that I thought that a blowout would not be out of the question. That was strange to think on my end, but given the way the Seahawks' defense had played--from their swarming tactics and speed to the way they totally entrapped runners with their aggressive tackling and pulled them backwards (lessening yards gained), as opposed to tackling forward with their opponent's momentum (and, thus, giving them that extra yard for a first down)--and the potency of their offense (which had yet to operate on all cylinders, but had two weeks to gel and was getting Percy Harvin back), I thought they were a better team on both sides of the ball than their Denver was. The Broncos had Peyton Manning, to be sure, and some good aspects to their offense and defense, but I never considered them to be beyond a "very good" team, however their records. The numbers said they were impressive, but their level of play did not show me they were that outstanding.

After observing them throughout the season, If the Seahawks were ever able to play at full power, they could truly be something yet seen. If that team showed up, the Broncos would get steamrolled. I believed there was a very good possibility of that occurring, but even so, I never imagined what Seattle would actually accomplish in the game. By "blowout", I envisioned a 28-15 (28-7 until a late-4Q Denver touchdown & 2pt. conversion) win, with Manning playing as well as possible and trying to stage a late game comp, but 36-0 in the 3rd quarter and completely dominating the Broncos in every aspect of the game in the fashion they did? Not a chance. The Seahawks' level of coaching and play far surpassed what I thought I would see all around. The defense instantly converged and stifled Denver's running game, thwarted their passing game, and were able to get to Manning on multiple occasions. The offense, indeed, clicked and saw some fine footwork and big plays from the likes of Russell Wilson and an injury-free Percy Harvin, who also got a kickoff return-TD at the beginning of the 2nd half on their prime special teams.

It was yet another contribution to their 43-8 victory, one that saw Seattle score in nearly every possible way. And among the kickoff return, the passing and running touchdowns, the pick-six, and field goals was the safety play at the very beginning that seemed to spell a bad omen for Denver. But as much blame as Peyton Manning is being pegged with, it was far more Seattle imposing their will and getting victory than him alone failing. Just as it was a total team effort that won it for the Seahawks, it was a total team failure that helped let Denver down. Not one person did well, but no one was able to do well, either. Denver was not a strong as advertised and looked as if they really were trying to play their best, but the team they were playing against was that much better than they were.

Placing the predictions and the blowout aside, there was also something indescribable about Super Bowl XLVIII and watching the Seahawks play. There was certain air of "importance", as if there was something of significance to what Seattle was accomplishing beyond the Super Bowl or besting the statistically-best offense in NFL history. It is difficult to quite put in words this feeling from it and what the game truly meant. It was more than a masterpiece of playing football or a display of complete dominance, it felt like the sign of something greater, something with ramifications beyond the game. Whether that means a dynasty in the making, a ripple effect in how teams play (i.e. following their hard, yet clean, hitting style; solidifying/emphasizing the use of mobile quarterbacks), or something else entirely remains to be seen, but the game was more it was at face value.

Some have said that Super Bowl XLVIII was "uninteresting" and "boring". I cannot blame them for feeling that way, as it lopsided and contained no true competition. Normally, I find little fascination in such contests--even if done by the ones I picked to win--but I can find some appreciation when it is done with a high level of mastery and a sense of completeness (in boxing terms, for this boxing blog, think of it as "Pacquiao-De La Hoya" rather than "Pacquiao-Mosley"). That is a major reason why I thought it was a great Super Bowl, particularly with who the Seattle Seahawks were facing, what the stakes were, and the popular expectations of them. To totally stuff the Denver Broncos with their level of play, style, and execution and to all but shut them out by a large margin was--and still is--startling. Add in the larger air of unexplainable mystique and sense of foreshadowing, and you have a Super Bowl that people may point to in a few years as where it all started and hold it up as a landmark event.

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