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Seahawks making their mark in second Super Bowl appearance

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The Seattle Seahawks will be very new to the Super Bowl limelight on Feb. 2. Yet while none of the current Seahawks have ever been to the Super Bowl before, this isn't the franchise's first appearance on Super Sunday. However, the Seattle team that made it there in 2006 crumbled and was largely forgotten -- though it has been impossible to forget these Seahawks already.

The 2006 Super Bowl is best remembered for the Pittsburgh Steelers giving Bill Cowher and Jerome Bettis long overdue championships. The Seahawks themselves were afterthoughts, although they were the NFC's top seed while the Steelers were the AFC's sixth seed. But there was little doubt the Steelers would triumph over Mike Holmgren's team, which they ultimately did by 21-10.

Seattle contended that the referees made bad calls against it all night, which then head ref Bill Leavy ultimately conceded four years later. Nevertheless, little else sticks out about that ugly Super Bowl, with the exception of Cowher and Bettis's crowning. Over time, as the Seahawks slipped back into mediocrity, their one and done NFC championship looked like a fluke.

Eight years later, the Seahawks are not only far from a fluke, they have been far more memorable and attention-grabbing than the 2006 team ever was. Back then, Seattle didn't have the star power that Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, Earl Thomas and coach Pete Carroll have brought it today. While the 2006 Seahawks had an MVP in running back Shawn Alexander, they could hardly match up to the Steelers' big names and prestige.

In many ways, this year has been the true coming out party for Seattle football. Capping it off with a Super Bowl championship over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos would truly put the Seahawks on the map. Given that the NFL has become an offensively dominated league, a win by the defensive minded Seahawks over the record setting Broncos would make a seismic statement -- almost as seismic as fan-made earthquakes over Lynch's touchdowns in Seattle.

The Seahawks are not just playing second fiddle in this second trip to the Super Bowl. If they've been hidden away in the Pacific Northwest to most NFL fans - at least before Sherman's postgame words after the NFC title game -- there is nowhere for them to hide now.

Seattle can make its mark starting at 6:30 p.m. est on FOX.

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