In Super Bowl XLVIII, it all reached a crescendo.
In one of the most shocking and lopsided games in Super Bowl history, the Seahawks dominated the Denver Broncos from the first snap of the game to the final whistle, a 43-8 victory that gave Seattle their first championship in franchise history.
Go ahead and scream, 12th Man. The Seattle Seahawks are world champions.
“This is emotion that we’ve been building up since we were 6, 7 years old and began playing football,” Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said after the game. “We belong here. I kept saying that this is our opportunity and our time. They owe us this opportunity, but they’re not going to give it to us. We have to take it ourselves.”
They took it all right. Denver may have given Seattle a two free points on a safety just 12 seconds into the game, but after that, the Seahawks thoroughly outplayed the Broncos. As they have all season, the defense forced turnovers, two interceptions and two fumbles. The biggest among them was a second-quarter interception by linebacker Malcolm Smith, who returned the pick 69-yards for a touchdown to give Seattle a 22-0 lead. Smith also recovered a Demaryius Thomas fumble in the third quarter and was named Super Bowl MVP.
"I always imagined myself making great plays," Smith said. "Never thought about being the MVP."
He was one of several worthy candidates for the honor. Percy Harvin, who has struggled with injuries and touched the ball just six times all season, rushed for a game-high 45-yards on just two carries and returned the opening kickoff of the second half 87-yards for a touchdown to put the Seahawks up 29-0. Quarterback Russell Wilson was cool and efficient, completing 18 of 25 passes for 2 touchdowns and 206 yards. Defensive end Cliff Avril consistently harassed Broncos quarterback and newly-named MVP Peyton Manning, and his hit on Manning’s throwing arm setup Smith’s interception.
Offense. Defense. Special teams. Seattle outplayed Denver in all three phases of the game.
“I told the guys before when we were watching film, I was like, ‘We’re going to come out and really dominate these guys,’” said linebacker K.J. Wright.
Dominate they did. The Seahawks win is particularly impressive given that they were going up against a Denver team that was statistically the best offense in NFL history, scoring a record 606 points in the regular season. Seattle held them scoreless until the final play of the third quarter.
“This team has got to go down as one of the best defenses of all time," Red Bryant said after the game. “It’s got to. And the best thing about it is they called us misfits, overachievers, said that nobody wanted us. But now we’re the best."
Debates about the 2013 Seahawks and their place in the pantheon of great defenses are a matter of opinion, but Seattle’s place in NFL history as Super Bowl champion is now etched on the Vince Lombardi trophy. It’s a tremendous victory for fans in Seattle, who haven’t celebrated a championship of any kind since the 1979 Seattle Supersonics and topped last year's list of "most miserable sports cities." Not any more.
“We take this trophy back — everyone knows we are taking this trophy back to the 12th Man,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said during the postgame trophy presentation. “It’s an unbelievable spirit. It’s their trophy.”
Seahawks fans can take a look at their trophy during the Seahawks victory parade, scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday. You might want to bring earplugs; it could get very loud.