Super Bowl XLVIII

Russell Wilson holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Denver Broncos

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 15th, 1967 was the setting of the very first Super Bowl game. This Sunday, February 2nd will mark the 48th with the Seattle Seahawks (the Hawks) facing off against the Denver Broncos. The victor will earn the Vince Lombardi Trophy, one of the most prestigious awards in the history of sport.

The opening play of Super Bowl XLVIII will never be forgotten and for good reason. The Broncos, with their top-ranked offensive play, were poised to set the pace for the greatest football event of the year. Instead, the center Manny Ramirez, snapped the ball early and right into the end zone. Luckily, Knowshon Moreno, the Denver running back, recovered the ball, but it lead to a two-point safety for the underdog Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks were in this season’s finale for only the second time in their history. Within seconds, the Seahawks had a 2-0 lead and possession of the ball. Russell Wilson, the quarterback of the high octane Seattle offence, took possession of the ball almost at mid-field. After a run from star running-back, Marshawn Lynch, didn’t go their way, the Seahawks opted to use Percy Harvin’s speed on a jet sweep. Percy ran for 30 yards until he was forced out of bounds. Unfortunately, the rest of the offense did not produce and a three and out followed. The kicking team was sent out. Stephen Hauschka hit it from 30 yards away to extend the lead to 5-0. The next Denver drive fared no better. Manning had gone 3 and out and his kicking team went on to punt the ball.

This was the first time this season Manning failed to score on consecutive drives. Wilson also had a tough night. He had some good plays that resulted in several first downs, but only to go 3 and out. Luckily, he was in field goal range. Stephen Hauschka was on target and extended the lead to 8-0. Denver just never seemed to be in the game. After a few good catches by Demarius Thomas, Manning, uncharacteristically, threw his first interception of the game and Kam Chancellor reeled in the ball. Wilson and the offense took over at the Denver 37 yard line. After advancing the ball into within 10 yards of the end zone, the Broncos were charged with pass interference. It was now first and goal on the one yard line. Lynch, on his second attempt, got it in for a touchdown. The score was now 15-0 for Seattle.

The second quarter started off similarly to the end of the first. Denver had possession of the ball. Manning’s elite offense was still in the game, but barely. Manning picked up steam and he completed several passes that lead to multiple first downs. The game was now starting to become interesting, but it was not to be. Manning, under heavy pressure, threw his second interception of the game. To add insult to injury, Malcolm Smith, who was later named MVP, returned his interception for a touchdown. The game was now beyond reach at 22-0. Denver went out again, but with no success. They went 3 and out and opted to go for it on the fourth down. Again, Manning did not complete his pass and they turned the ball over. Seattle then ran the clock out to end the half.

The opening play of the 3rd quarter saw Percy Harvin utilizing his speed once again. Denver attempted a short, blooper kick off in order to contain Harvin’s run back, but he grabbed the ball and blew past the Broncos entire kickoff team. Eighty-six yards later, the score was 29-0. Denver then had possession and their sorry excuse for an offense, finally picked it up. After marching around 40 yards up field, the Seattle defense forced another 3 and out, and the Seahawks took over the ball. The ‘Hawks took a page from the Denver offense and were forced to punt after a 3 and out. Denver gained possession, but only to surrender it to the Seahawks. After Denver’s Demarius Thomas caught a pass, Seattle defender, Byron Maxwell, punched the ball loose and Seattle recovered the fumble. After several failed run attempts by Marshawn Lynch, Jermaine Kearse received a perfect pass from Wilson and pin-balled his way into the end zone, making it a 36-0 game. Manning had had enough.

Finally, the Manning of legend – the one from the regular season who shattered the NFL passing touchdown and yardage record – showed up. He completed 5 passes in a row for 5 first-downs. He threw a great pass to Demarius Thomas for their only touchdown of the game. They opted for a 2 point conversion and were successful. It was now 36-8. With only a 28 point difference, it was still anyone’s game.

Seattle opened up the fourth quarter just as hot as they were in the other three. Wilson completed several passes to make it to the Denver 20 yard line followed by a great pass and an even better catch, by Doug Baldwin, for the touchdown. The next 4 possessions for each team were all 3 and outs; however, there was really no offense on either side, since the game was as good as over long before this point. The clock finally ran out and Seattle was able to claim it’s first Super Bowl championship.