EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Welcome to Boom Town.
Managers, prepare for the most unproductive Monday in the history of work. Underlings, don’t call in hungover – call in to invite your boss to your Super Bowl party. Which presumably is still in progress.
What is it the T-shirts say?
The celebration the Seattle Seahawks set loose on Sunday evening might well last as long as the stumbles, near-misses, pratfalls and deceits that have made rooting for Washington’s big-league teams an ongoing palm slap to the forehead.
That’s a lot of catching up to do.
And the Seahawks – champions 38 years into their existence – may have taken care of it with one, immense swig.
Their 43-8 evisceration of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII was an epic domination, as complete and gob-smacking as any in the game’s history – owing to the manner it was done and the opponent they did it unto.
Specifically, to Peyton Manning, the “Omaha!” yeller, whose endorsement deal with the steak outfit in that city is surely dead meat now.
But also to the Broncos in general. From Malcolm Smith’s pick-six to Percy Harvin’s hammer-down kickoff return to Jermaine Kearse’s ridiculous spin-cycle touchdown catch, the Seahawks made every play that needed to be made in every phase of the game.
Then they made a few more.
Each sweep of the sword just gashed the Broncos deeper, and goosed the delirium higher among the 12th Man masses who made the pilgrimage to the Meadowlands, who packed Queen Anne bars in Seattle and hooted it up in house parties in Spokane.
The Seahawks felt pretty good about it, too.
“Best day of your life?” someone asked running back Marshawn Lynch.
“Next to being born,” he allowed.
Oh, and the defense? Damned right they deserve their own wing in the hall of great.
“We’re the best ever,” insisted defensive end Michael Bennett. “We could have played anybody today and done the same thing.”
Though the Seahawks were superior in every aspect, what will be remembered is that the Seahawks reasserted the old bromide about defense winning championships – in an era where rules, emphasis and personnel have been stacked to put more points on the board.
Sure, it was clear from the start that the Broncos were experiencing a Met Life crisis.
Twelve seconds into the game – surely no coincidence, eh, 12s? – they trailed 2-0, the first snap having sailed over Manning’s head and into the end zone for a safety, a turnover one and all attributed to 12th Man noise. A Seahawks field goal followed, but a 5-0 lead wasn’t going to hold up against an offense that set NFL records for points and yards.
One wicked lick – delivered by safety Kam Chancellor – changed that thinking. That Denver’s Demaryius Thomas managed to hang on to the ball hardly mattered.
“If they caught those, they were going to have deal with us after they caught them,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “Kam’s first hit was exactly what it was about.”
From that point on, the Broncos were nothing but fresh-squeezed orange.
Three turnovers either led to or accounted for Seattle touchdowns. When the Broncos looked on the verge of a stop-the-bleeding touchdown before halftime, Chris Clemons tipped a fourth-down pass. The next time Denver was inside the Seattle 40 – down 29-0 – coach John Fox surrendered and punted.
And then there was Manning: 34 completions – a (meaningless) Super Bowl record – and two crushing interceptions.
You’d have thought he’d neglected to endorse Chris Christie.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s yellow-brick-road ways and sloganeering engender some snickering, but consider that he devotes an entire day – Turnover Thursday – to getting takeaways and preventing them.
“We had four, they got none,” he said.
Ball don’t lie, especially when you have it.
There were reasons in advance to think Denver may have been in the driver’s seat, starting with the general love affair with Manning (“He’s still the greatest quarterback ever,” Bennett maintained). And the fact that for all of the Seahawks’ defensive dominance, the offenses they dominated collectively ranked no higher than 20th in the NFL.
“It was hilarious to see people doubt us like that,” Bennett said. “I don’t even know how the NFL let all of us get on the same team.
“I think there are a lot of people who feel stupid now.”
And a whole bunch in the upper-left corner of the map who feel giddy to the 12th power. Even Sherman, who finished the game on crutches after a high ankle sprain forced him to the sidelines, confessed that “achieving a dream really numbs the pain.”
And the parade that Seattle will throw for its first Super Bowl champs on Wednesday?
“I’m as 100 percent as I can be for the celebration,” Sherman insisted. “I will not miss that.”
He’ll be joining it in progress.
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