This is not a smart piece of analysis like I've been attempting all year for The Penalty Flag. This is just a giddy fan reaction.
The Seattle Seahawks played their best game of the year in the Super Bowl. Their biggest margin of victory. Their most complete performance.
I had no idea who to pick for MVP. Russell Wilson, I supposed, just because his leadership and execution on third down made it happen on offense. But it was a team defense thing. Cliff Avril, I was thinking. Kam Chancellor? The turnovers, which were the death of Denver, were all caused by the pass rush. Malcolm Smith was just an opportunist. But he had a pick, a TD and a fumble recovery. I can't argue with that. Consider that he's not even a starter. Who knew his name before the interception at the end of the 49ers game?
Would you pay Percy Harvin for the kickoff return alone? About $14 million is what he earned this year for a limited appearance in one regular season game, half a playoff game and last Sunday. But what a Sunday.
On the second play for the Seahawks' offense, Percy took the ball on a sweep for 30 yards. He was one chalky toe from taking it all the way. Denver was slapped awake. They'd watch him everywhere he went.
The effect was most obvious later in the half when Russell faked the sweep to Percy and gave it to Marshawn Lynch up the middle. Denver's linebackers were caught leaning, opening up a hole for a 10 yard gain. That's the Percy factor, whether he touches the ball or not.
Even down 22-0 after one half, you knew Peyton Manning could lead his team back. But when Percy took the opening kickoff of the second half to the house, he planted the dagger. The Broncos were shook up. Mentally down and out.
$14 million for that play? Yes, if it was Paul Allen's money.
The Twelfth Man has range. Denver's center Manny Ramirez took full responsibility for the errant snap that resulted in a safety on the Broncos' first play. He said he couldn't hear the snap count. This was a neutral site game. Played in New Jersey. Don't let them call it New York.
Almost 3000 miles away, Seattle fans got it done. I have a friend who was there. He told me blue and green was everywhere on the streets. Orange, not so much. All Seahawk fans greeted each other like old buddies. Bronco fans passed each other on the street silently. Did Richard Sherman's rant create a bunch of new Denver fans? You couldn't find a Seahawks #25 jersey in New York City, my buddy told me.
8% of the ticket sales went to Colorado. 17% to Washington.
Seattle fans know how and when to disturb an offense. It showed.
Yet, I'm sure there's much more to this. I've heard it pointed out that the entire offensive line moved together, indicating it may have been Manning's mistake. We have all off-season to discuss it.
One more point before signing off. If you still want to judge Richard Sherman for one moment at the end of the 49ers game, listen more. Before this game, he noted how special Denver's offensive unit was. All media week long, he was looking interviewers in the eye with real attention and delivering smart, crisp answers. At the end of the Super Bowl, he highlighted the huge performances of Malcolm Smith, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and the whole team.
Right after Sherman's comments on the podium with the Lombardi trophy, one of the Fox announcers (I forget who it was) said: "That's the real Richard Sherman."
Sometime I'll get into the three very different leaders on the team:
Richard Sherman: loud, in your grill, precise and cutting with his words.
Russell Wilson: friendly, respectful, coach's dream, tremendous discipline and work ethic.
Marshawn Lynch: would rather do it than talk about it, avoids the media. "I'm just about that action, boss."
This has little to do with the story: