Hey, did you know that Super Bowl XLVIII was last week? Yeah, neither did Denver, apparently.
Look, no one thought that this game was going to be some down-to-the-wire, last minute Hail Mary kind of game, but it’s safe to say that no one also expected…that. A game that should have at least been a bit of a give and take quickly descended into a lopsided three and a half-hour long slugfest where Denver could barely manage to find its footing and Seattle somehow came out looking like an actual pro football team.
Some games are won not because the underdog team did better, but because the favored team just couldn’t pull it together. This was not one of those games. Right from the start, Seattle ran roughshod all over Denver. It’s worth mentioning that Seattle were the Super Bowl virgins in this game – not only has the franchise never been to the Super Bowl, but no individual member of the current Seattle Seahawks roster has ever played on a team that’s competed in the Big Game. Compare that with Denver, the older more experienced team that has not only a franchise history but also individual players with several rings in their possession. In Elite parlance, “It wasn’t supposed to go this way.”
To wit: the final score was a crushing Seattle 43 to Denver 8. Denver couldn’t even manage to get on the board until the end of the third quarter, quite the feat considering that Denver’s quarterback is the much ballyhooed Peyton Manning, a man who by himself has five MVPs and a Super Bowl win under his belt coming into the game to say noting of the fact that his family is genetically incapable of producing failures. (See: Manning, Eli; Manning, Taryn; and Manning, Archie; to say nothing of Manning, Cooper.) And yet, somehow during Denver’s opening drive, we got this:
That was essentially the first play of the game - a miscue whereby the QB fails to connect with his own snap leading to a ball flying so far over his shoulder that the first score of the game came less than 12 seconds in and was a safety awarded to Seattle on Denver's drive. It’s fair to say that Denver never truly recovered. In fact, by the first play of the second half where Seattle, already significantly ahead, managed a return from its own territory to secure yet another touchdown, the majority of the country was ready to turn off the Super Bowl to see what was going on over at Downtown Abbey. You hear that, England? America has given up its national pastime in order to see what your turgid melodrama is up to. Clearly, we’ve ceded the culture war to you. Well done, Queen Elizabeth. Regardless of how bored viewers were with the rapidly descending thrill of the game, you have to at least credit Denver with trying to put together something that would qualify as entertaining. They finally managed to score at the end of the third quarter, thus by at least ensuring that they wouldn’t be completely shut out of a game against a bunch of neophytes led by a Quarterback that is barely old enough to buy beer legally.
"Mom says if throw for more than 100 yards I get an ice cream before we go home."
As I’ve written about several times before, the Super Bowl is far less about sports than it is about entertainment. It is to the regular season what Glee is to a Ken Burns documentary on PBS. That’s part of the reason why advertisers pay so much to get an overblown commercial on that airtime – it is, in theory at least, one of the most entertainment-driven nights on television of the year. The worst sin that a Super Bowl can commit is to be boring and, unfortunately, that’s what we got this year, though I suspect Seattle folk found that boredom more bearable than their Denver counterparts did. Still, the job of the Super Bowl is to keep people watching and to provide a active night of television. To quote a tweet from a friend of mine, “Sucks to be the company that bought a fourth quarter ad this year.”
As it is, the most entertaining thing about Super Bowl 48 is the aftermath. There are so many pundits at the “What It All Means For Peyton Manning” Club that they’re going to start running out of beer soon. If it’s a truism that the Super Bowl needs to be entertaining, it’s equally true that for all the love that we as a country generally have for the Manning family, there’s nothing we like more than watching giants fall. Whether or not Super Bowl 48 marks the end of a long and celebrated career for Manning (personally I think we’ve still got him around for a few years, but he’s veering dangerously toward Brett Favre territory here), the most exciting thing to see right now in this Super Bowl aftermath is the talking about it.
Careful, Peyton - the Manning family eats their own weak in order to purify their powers.