The Seattle Seahawks captured their first Super Bowl since joining the National Football League in 1976 with a 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos, the biggest margin of victory by an underdog in the game’s 48-year history.
In the fifth Super Bowl matchup between the league’s top-ranked offense and No. 1 defense, the stingier defensive team won for the fourth time. The Seahawks forced four turnovers, including three by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, and scored on a safety, an interception return and kickoff return while storming to a 36-0 lead last night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
It’s the first championship in any major sport for Seattle since 1979, when the SuperSonics won the National Basketball Association title.
“It’s such an amazing feeling to take the Lombardi Trophy back to Seattle and the Northwest,” Seahawks owner and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen said as he hoisted the championship trophy over his head amid a shower of green, blue and white confetti. Allen, 61, bought the team in 1997 as a favor to his native city.
The Seahawks’ 35-point margin of victory matched the third-biggest in Super Bowl history. The other three teams were all favored, while Seattle had been listed by Las Vegas oddsmakers as 2 1/2-point underdog against Manning and a Broncos’ offense that had set an NFL record for points.
The Seahawks, led by their “Legion of Boom” secondary, had allowed the fewest points, passing yards and total yards in the NFL this season. They were the dominant unit last night in the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather venue, holding the Broncos without a first down for the first 19 1/2 minutes, pressuring Manning all game, and keeping Denver scoreless until the final play of the third quarter.
Known for the support of their vocal fans, known as the “12th Man,” the Seahawks scored 12 seconds into both halves in preventing Manning from completing his record-setting season with a second championship.
The Seahawks got a safety on the opening play from scrimmage -- the fastest score in Super Bowl history -- when the Broncos snapped the ball over Manning’s head and into the end zone. Percy Harvin returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown.
Manning, who set NFL records for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) this season, threw two interceptions, fumbled once and was denied a chance to become the first starting quarterback to win Super Bowl titles with two different teams.
“We needed to play really well in order to win and we didn’t come anywhere close to that,” said Manning, who averaged 5.7 yards on his record 34 completions. “The turnover on the first play of the game is not the way you want to start. For whatever reason, we couldn’t get much going after that.”
The Broncos now have a 2-5 record in the Super Bowl, breaking a tie with the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings for the most losses in the game’s history. They’ve been outscored by 146 points in those five losses.
Manning lost for the second time in three Super Bowl appearances -- having gone 1-1 with the Indianapolis Colts -- and fell to 11-12 all-time in the playoffs. His 12 postseason losses are a record, one more than Brett Favre.
Manning is the eighth starting quarterback with two or more losses in the Super Bowl, joining Jim Kelly (0-4), Fran Tarkenton (0-3), Craig Morton (0-2), Kurt Warner (1-2), Elway (2-3), Roger Staubach (2-2) and Tom Brady (3-2).
“To get behind and give them the lead played into their hands,” Manning said.
The Seahawks’ Wilson completed 18-of-25 passes for 206 yards and becomes the fourth quarterback to win the Super Bowl in his first two seasons, joining Warner, Brady and Ben Roethlisberger.
While Manning was being paid $17.5 million this season as part of the five-year, $96 million contract he signed with the Broncos in 2012, Wilson, 25, made about $681,000 in salary and bonuses in the second year of his rookie contract.
After Seattle opened an 8-0 first-quarter lead with the safety and two Steven Hauschka field goals, running back Marshawn Lynch scored the Seahawks’ first touchdown on a 1-yard run, seven plays after Manning threw an interception. Linebacker Malcolm Smith, the game Most Valuable Player, returned another interception 69 yards for a touchdown to put Seattle up 22-0 at halftime.
Harvin, limited to one game during the regular season after having hip surgery and a setback during recovery, opened the second half by returning the kickoff for a touchdown. The Seahawks set a record for consecutive points scored to start a Super Bowl with the 10th kickoff return for a score in the game’s history. The previous record was a 24-0 lead by the Redskins in 1991 and the Miami Dolphins in 1973.
Wilson’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse put Seattle ahead 36-0 before the Broncos got their first points on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Demaryius Thomas, who set a Super Bowl record with 13 receptions. Wilson answered with a 10-yard scoring pass to Doug Baldwin.
This was the second time in the past 20 years that the Super Bowl featured the No. 1 seeds in each conference. The last was after the 2009 season, when Manning and the Colts lost to the Saints. Manning won his lone title three years earlier.
The Seahawks are the first team to win a Super Bowl without a player who previously appeared in the championship game since the 1982 Washington Redskins. Seattle’s average age of 26.4 makes them the youngest team to win the Super Bowl, according to data compiled by Pro Football Reference.
Las Vegas bookmakers have them as the favorite to win next year as well, with 7-1 odds, according to handicapping information website Pregame.com.
Broncos coach John Fox, who missed four games this season after undergoing aortic heart valve replacement surgery in November, joins Don Shula, Dan Reeves and Mike Holmgren as the only coaches to lose Super Bowls with two different teams. Fox lost his previous Super Bowl appearance as coach of the Carolina Panthers after the 2003 season.
While sub-freezing temperatures gripped the New York area for much of the week leading up to the Super Bowl, it failed to set a record for the coldest game-time temperature. It was 49 degrees Fahrenheit (9 Celsius) at kickoff, the third-coldest in Super Bowl history, and only dropped to about 44 degrees as the Seahawks celebrated their first championship.
“We’re going to have a little musical jam later on, a mixture of rock and blues and hip-hop so that’ll be fun,” Allen said of the team’s postgame celebration. “Then back in Seattle we’ll have a celebration for the whole city.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in East Rutherford, New Jersey at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at email@example.com