Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning’s legacies defined

Well, this came out of left field.

It was supposed to be the upstart Seahawks taking on the legendary Peyton Manning, his legacy on the line, history to be made. Instead, it turned into one of the biggest laughers the Super Bowl has ever produced. Seahawks 43–8.

Manning, who at 37 years old won his record fifth league MVP award earlier in the week, was looking to shed the label he has lumbered around with for so long—a dynamic regular season quarterback who can’t get over the hump and win the big one.

He failed miserably.

After setting numerous records throughout the season, including points and touchdowns, the Broncos were outclassed from the opening snap, an errant one that went over Manning’s head and into the end zone for a safety.

Led by their “Legion of Boom” secondary, Seattle’s defense was simply brilliant. They gave up nothing early on in the game, some meaningless yards late, and were stifling in-between, jumping out to a 36–0 lead in the third quarter.

Taking advantage of uncharacteristic turnovers, the Seahawks picked off Manning twice, including a back-breaking 69-yarder returned by Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith for a touchdown to make it 22–0.

After a season in which Seattle wide receiver Percy Harvin played in just two games and made zero impact, he let his star shine on the biggest stage.

With the game hovering dangerously close to the edge of disaster, Denver had one last chance: stop Seattle on the first possession of the third quarter and hope Manning and the offense get something going. But Harvin had other ideas, and his opening kickoff for a touchdown was the proverbial nail in the Broncos coffin, making the game 29–0 and, essentially, over.

“He’s unusually aggressive and he’s such a versatile athlete, that you have a lot of opportunities to do different things with him,” said his head coach Pete Carroll, who nabbed his first Super Bowl title, joining a short list of coaches who have won titles at both the college and pro levels.

Harvin, to his credit, never let the struggles get him down.

“It’s been weird. It’s been frustrating. It’s been all the above, man,” Harvin said of his season. “I had a tough time and it wore on me a little bit. But like I told the reporters, my teammates have been A-plus-plus. This whole organization has been top of the line.”

Oh, and then there’s Russell Wilson. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Already a star—bordering on “super”—Wilson
rocketed himself into the next echelon with his steady, understated, yet brilliant performance. Two years in, he has already etched himself into the Mount Rushmore of Seattle sports, a city so used to heartbreak. Now, they have a leader they can truly call their own. The feelings are mutual, according to Wilson.

“I thank God for putting me in this place right here,” Wilson said. “This place is unbelievable. I love Seattle.”

The Seahawks entered the season as favorites, and led by their young quarterback, set out week after week to prove it.

In the celebration following the win, Wilson—nicknamed “The President” by teammates for his calm demeanor—told stories of his father, who often told him as a child, “Why not you, Russell?”

“He always said that…so we’ve been saying, ‘Why not us?’ all season long.”

Indeed, it appears that no one can question Seattle anymore. After taking Russell in the third round of the 2013 draft, the Seahawks and Carroll surprised many by giving the opening-game nod to Wilson, despite signing high-dollar free agent Matt Flynn.

Now, after 28 wins in his first two seasons (an NFL record) and the franchise’s first Super Bowl, it appears no one can question Wilson—or the Seahawks—ever.