By PETER PRENDERGAST ’16
In the 2013-2014 season, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had one of the most impressive and record-breaking years in the history of the NFL. He completed 450 passes for 5477 yards and he set a league record of 55 touchdown passes. With the help of some of the league’s top wide receivers, he led the Broncos to an AFC championship and his first Super Bowl appearance since 2006. For the past three weeks, the nation prepared itself for Super Bowl XLVIII, as Manning looked to win his second championship ring and the Seattle Seahawks geared up for a chance to win their first Super Bowl. The game was to be one for the ages as the NFL’s number one offense and number one defense met at New Jersey’s MetLife stadium on February 2. However, in true Peyton Manning fashion, the Broncos choked, as they were no match for Seattle’s strong defense.
Denver elected to receive the opening kickoff and Manning took the field at the 15-yard line. The very first snap of the game sailed over the quarterback’s head as he mis-cued the snap count. Bronco’s running back Knowshon Moreno recovered the fumble in the end zone, resulting in a safety, giving Seattle an early 2-point advantage. Seattle received the ensuing punt and managed to drive up field, setting kicker Steven Hauschka up for an easy 31-yard field goal. Denver received the ball again but turned possession over to the Seahawks after a quick three-and-out. On their next drive, the Seahawks gained 58 yards and Hauschka completed another field goal for another 3 points.
With twelve minutes on the clock in the second quarter, Manning threw an off-balanced pass intended for tight end Julius Thomas. The pass was intercepted by safety Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks drove the ball to the one-yard line to set running back Marshawn Lynch up for a touchdown. With just over three minutes left in the half, the Broncos managed to drive the ball down to Seattle’s 32-yard line. However, on first down, defensive end Red Bryant was able to disrupt Manning’s pass, resulting in an interception by linebacker Malcolm Smith. Smith returned the ball for a 69-yard touchdown run. The whistle for halftime blew and the teams returned to their locker rooms with the score set at 22-0, Seattle’s favor.
The second half continued in similar fashion as Seattle’s Percy Harvin returned Denver’s second half kick-off for an 87-yard touchdown. Seattle scored again with just over three minutes left in the quarter as quarterback Russell Wilson connected with receiver Jermaine Kearse for a 23-yard touchdown pass. The Broncos finally managed to break through Seattle’s secondary as Manning found receiver Demaryius Thomas in the end zone in the last drive of the 3rd quarter. The Seahawks scored their final touchdown in the 4th quarter, as Wilson threw a 10-yard pass to receiver Doug Baldwin, who managed to break three tackles in order to reach the end zone.
With the final score of Super Bowl XLVIII set at 43-8, Russell Wilson was replaced by back-up quarterback Tavaris Jackson, head coach Pete Carroll was drenched with a jug of Gatorade and Seattle’s sideline erupted in excitment and celebration. The final whistle blew, and the 2013-2014 NFL season came to an end, the Seattle Seahawks crowned the reigning champions.
Following the game, NFL commisioner Roger Goodell presented the Lombardi trophy to the new champions and veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith was named superbowl MVP.
Despite Denver’s crushing loss, the football world can still appreciate all that Peyton Manning has accomplished. For example, he now holds the league record for most completions in a Super Bowl, as well as the most career post season losses by a quarterback.