EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Seahawks took us back in time Sunday night. Back to when defense was more competitive than complicated. Back to when the toughest team, not the fanciest team, won the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Back to when the Super Bowl was won in a rout by a team on top of its game.
The Lincoln Tunnel Super Bowl? The Time Tunnel Super Bowl was more like it.
The Seahawks smashed the Broncos 43-8 Sunday night in a game that won't be remembered as a New York/New Jersey Super Bowl, but rather the coming-out party of a great team.
With a defensive performance to rival any in championship history, the Seahawks took apart the highest-scoring offense in NFL history. Seattle held Denver to a lone touchdown, and that coming on the final play of the third quarter, when the score already was 36-0.
This was how NFL titles used to be won. Not with magical quarterback play, but with rugged defense that made finding the end zone harder than finding a cab when Les Miserables lets out. And while defenses of yesteryear have shined in Super Bowls, keep the proper perspective. The '85 Bears squashed a Patriot team quarterbacked by Tony Eason. These Seahawks pummeled Peyton Manning.
“It's all about making history,” said Seattle safety Earl Thomas. “This was a dominant performance from top to bottom. You had guys step up that you wouldn't even think of.”
No doubt. The Super Bowl MVP was a Seattle linebacker, Malcolm Smith, that half of us never had heard of and the other half not until his interception in the NFC Championship Game. Smith had a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown and a second-half fumble recovery, but a dozen of his teammates could have made a case, too. Put the MVP up to an electorate of any size, and we'd have had five runoffs.
The Seahawks rattled Manning into three turnovers and a safety. So dominant was their performance, it was undersold by motormouth cornerback Richard Sherman.
“The Legion of Boom, baby,” Sherman said. “I hope we etched our names in the history books. This is the No. 1 offense in the history of the NFL, and we were able to play a good game against them.”
Good game? This was an epic game. A Bronco team that scored 606 regular-season points (37.9 points a game) had 11 possessions against Seattle and scored only once, needing a third-and-9 pass interference penalty to keep that drive alive.