Super Bowl XLVIII: 4 Winners, 4 Losers
It all started with a safety on a snap over Peyton Manning's head on the first play from scrimmage, the nail was driven in further by a Malcolm Smith pick six to close out the first half, and Percy Harvin hit the death blow with the kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half.
Winners and losers.
Game, set, match. Seahawks 43, Broncos 8.
And now we brace ourselves for an entire offseason of "Peyton Manning legacy" talk, which sounds like it's going to be even more fun than "Joe Flacco elite" talk.
By the way, what ever happened to that Flacco guy, anyway?
Oh well, let's get going with some winners and losers from last night's Seahawk tsunami....
4. Pete Carroll and John Schneider
I love to see people rewarded for ballsy decisions, especially ballsy decisions that essentially render one of their previous decisions a poor one. Prior to the 2012 season, the Seahawks had signed quarterback Matt Flynn away from the Packers for a decent amount of change (moderate NFL starter's money), and still drafted Wisconsin's Russell Wilson in the third round because they liked the value. Wilson promptly seized the starting job, rendered Flynn expendable, and the rest is history. The Seahawks traded Flynn to the Raiders for a song after the 2012 season, swallowed the cap hit, and proceeded to win the Super Bowl two years later. (For the record, this is the one billion percent polar opposite of the way Gary Kubiak handled the quarterback position during the Matt Schaub Era. Never any competition or thought to look at a young guy in, say, the third round.) Pete Carroll and John Schneider have put together a juggernaut in Seattle, a young team that's been allowed to fortify its youthful nucleus with some high priced veterans because they're getting elite play at the most important position from a guy whose cap figure is $681,085. In fact, here is the list of impact players for the Seahawks with 2013 cap figures below $1,000,000:
LB Bobby Wagner $979,045
WR Golden Tate $880,000
CB Brandon Browner $773,756
QB Russell Wilson $681,085
CB Walter Thurmond $607,639
CB Richard Sherman $600,606
CB Byron Maxwell $583,363
LB Malcolm Smith $566,475
WR Doug Baldwin $560,833
WR Jermaine Kearse $480,000
TE Luke Willson $449,633
This is how you get away with having almost $15 million in cap space tied up in Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, both of whom were injured for most of the season, and still win a Super Bowl. Speaking of which....
3. Percy Harvin
Yes, Malcolm Smith won the Most Valuable Player award for the game, but I think that was a tip of the hat to the entire Seattle defense, which was spectacular all night long, particularly when the game was being decided in the first half, So the writers deciding gave it to the defensive player who made the most impactful defensive play. I get it. But the single most valuable individual performance was that of Harvin, whose two fly sweeps in the first quarter kept Denver's defense off balance and gave the Seahawks one way to move the ball on the ground when it became clear they were all-in on stopping Marshawn Lynch. And then the kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half essentially squashed any comeback hope before Denver had even touched the ball in the third quarter. Swiftly and decisively. Considering Harvin played all of 19 plays during the regular season, it begs the question "Have we ever seen a bigger Super Bowl impact from a player who had virtually no impact in the regular season?" Hell, even Timmy Smith, who rushed for over 200 yards for the Redskins in Super Bowl XXII, rushed for 126 yards during the 1987 regular season. Certainly, Harvin's game on Sunday makes it easier to swallow the contract the Seahawks gave him when they traded for him last offseason.
2. Johnny Manziel
Even though he chose to stay in San Diego and prepare for the NFL Combine instead of heading to New York for the game
parties booze whores (Manziel maturation ALERT!), still somehow our venerable Heisman Trophy winner managed to see his stock tangentially positively impacted as the quarterback to whom he is most frequently compared (Russell Wilson) hoist the Lombardi Trophy in his second year. Granted, whichever team drafts Manziel this May will most assuredly not have Seattle's defense, but still, this was a much more fortuitous outcome for Manziel than if Wilson had struggled.
1. New York and other arctic February NFL cities
For all of the discussion of the weather as (in order of importance) a talking point for the game, a sore spot for millionaire ticket buyers, and an ice cold pain in the ass for coddled media members, meteorology wound up being a background story all week, leading up to what appeared to be a sublime night to attend a football game come Sunday. Then came Monday, and this:
Wow, the New York City Super Bowl avoided total weather disaster by about 10 hours. pic.twitter.com/pjYQqfQXrn— Clay Travis (@ClayTravisBGID) February 3, 2014
So the NFL averted logistical and critical disaster by about 12 hours. So when cold weather cities like Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Boston start the bidding process for a Super Bowl, can we take into account the window of weather surrounding the night of the game and not just the four hours on the field Sunday? Please? (Signed, Coddled Media Member)