EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Waiting to get their hands on the Lombardi Trophy, the Seahawks were surrounded by security guards in orange jackets. It was the first time anyone in that color stopped them all night.
The Seahawks stayed true to their mantra to make each day a championship day. They made Super Bowl Sunday the best day of all with one of the greatest performances in an NFL title game - sparked by a defense that ranks among the best ever.
The Seahawks won their first Super Bowl crown by punishing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8. That masterful defense, the NFL’s stingiest, never let the five-time MVP get going, disarming the highest-scoring offense in league history.
“The only way we could say we were the best defense was to take down the best offense,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
Seattle (16-3) was too quick, too physical and just too good for Denver. What was hyped as a classic matchup between an unstoppable offense and a miserly defense turned into a rout.
“We’ve been relentless all season,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Having that mentality of having a championship day every day. At the end of the day, you want to play your best football and that is what we did today.”
Punctuating Seattle’s dominance were a 69-yard interception return touchdown by linebacker Malcolm Smith to make it 22-0, and Percy Harvin’s sensational 87-yard kickoff return to open the second half.
“I always imagined myself making great plays,” said Smith, the game’s MVP. “Never thought about being the MVP.”
When the Seahawks, up by 29 points, forced a Denver punt early in the third quarter, the 12th Man - and there were legions of them in MetLife Stadium - began chanting “L-O-B, L-O-B.”
As in Legion of Boom, the Seahawks’ hard-hitting secondary, part of a young team with an average age of 26 years, 138 days.
“This is an amazing team. Took us four years to get to this point, but they never have taken a step sideways,” coach Pete Carroll said. “These guys would not take anything but winning this ballgame.”
The loss by the Broncos again raised questions about Manning’s ability to win the biggest games. He is 11-12 in the postseason, 1-2 in Super Bowls. After the game, he brushed off questions about his legacy.
“Certainly to finish this way is very disappointing. It’s not an easy pill to swallow,” said Manning, who threw for a record 55 touchdowns in 2013, two years after missing an entire season because of neck surgeries. “I don’t know if you ever really get over it.”
Seattle forced four turnovers; Denver had 26 all season.