The largest sporting event in the United States was a one-sided affair in 2014. The Seattle Seahawks have won their first ever Super Bowl in a dominant display over the Denver Broncos.
The Seahawks ran hard and fast out of the gate on Sunday, defeating the Broncos 43-8 in one of the most one-sided Super Bowls in National Football League history.
The fear of freezing temperatures generated plenty of buzz ahead of the game at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey – the first cold weather outdoor Super Bowl in NFL history. But the fans who packed the 79,000 capacity venue, which is home the NFL's New York Jets and New York Giants, were treated to the somewhat mild conditions of 49 degrees Fahrenheit (9.4 degrees Celsius).
Things were bad from the get go for Denver, who were unable to cope with the Seattle defense – the best in the league. During the opening drive, Quarterback Peyton Manning, fresh off winning his record fifth Most Valuable Player award, was unready to receive his first snap of the game and the ball flew over his shoulder. Running back Knowshon Moreno recovered it in the end zone for a safety, giving Seattle a 2-0 lead after 12 seconds – the fastest score in Super Bowl history.
Two Seahawks field goals extended the lead to 8-0 by the end of the first quarter. Running Back Marshawn Lynch finished off Seattle's drive early in the second quarter, setup by a Manning interception, with a 1-yard touchdown run. Manning's pass 8 and a half minutes later was intercepted and returned 69 yards for a touchdown by Malcom Smith, assuring the Broncos went into halftime trailing 22-0.
The first play of the second half saw Seattle's Percy Harvin return the kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown.
The only glimpse Manning was able to show of Denver's number one-rated offense was a 14-yard completion to Demaryius Thomas in the end zone with three seconds to go in the quarter. The Broncos converted the two-point conversion afterward to make it 43-8 – the only points they would score against Seattle's hard-hitting defense, dubbed the "Legion of Boom".
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes during the game. The first connected with Jermaine Kearse for a 23-yard touchdown pass. His second found Doug Baldwin in the end zone for a 10-yard score that finished the game off at 43-8.
'An amazing team'
The Super Bow win saw Seattle win its first men's professional sports championship since the Supersonics won the 1979 National Basketball Association title.
Marcus Smith, whose interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter capped Seattle's winning performance, was named Super Bowl MVP.
"This is an amazing team," said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll after being handed the Super Bowl's Lombardi trophy. "These guys right here would not take anything but a win in this ball game – they never thought anything else was going to happen."
The 25-year-old Wilson, who became one of the rare second-year quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl, said the achievement was down to the team's "championship mentality."
"The thing you want to do, at the end of the season you want to play your best football and that's what we did tonight," he said.