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When beginning to look at writing this article, it became quickly apparent that it would be dominated with content about the Seattle Seahawks, just as they dominated the game itself, but there were two teams which contested the no-contest that was Superbowl XLVIII.
The majority of the build-up to this season’s Superbowl was about Peyton Manning being able to dissect the defence of the Seattle Seahawks with a receiving arsenal that cannot be matched within the current NFL landscape, going on to solidify his legacy as the greatest quarterback the game has ever seen. Of course it didn’t quite happen like that. In fact, despite going against the views of ‘experts’, the opposite happened.
Manning’s legacy has now been altered, not necessarily damaged, but you can look at his career from a much different perspective. With his five MVP awards as evidence alone, it can be said that Peyton Manning is the greatest regular season quarterback there has ever been.
However, his record in the playoff season is mediocre at best. With the loss in this year’s Superbowl, Manning has now lost more playoff games than any other quarterback in the history of the game. Three Superbowl appearances and just one win, a win in which the quarterback opposing him was Rex Grossman, known for his ability to throw interceptions rather than touchdowns.
Peyton Manning is a player who deserves a lot of admiration, but does not deserve to be placed in any discussions regarding who the NFL’s greatest quarterback is.
With their performance in the Superbowl, it is clear that the Seahawks are a great team and a scary thought for everyone else is that they are also a young team. The way their roster is constructed means they have the potential to continue at this high level for some time to come.
With the NFL changing the rules with rookie contracts, it means the team can stockpile young players with relatively small contracts; for instance, Russell Wilson is the lowest paid starting quarterback in the NFL. The effect this has had gives the Seahawks enough room within the salary cap to bring in game-changing players like Cliff Avril and Percy Harvin, who both played major roles within the victory against the Broncos.
With the core group of players set to stick around in Seattle, it is not hard to see the team being able to repeat the same level of success next year but as we know, every year in the NFL is different. The team will have a massive target on their back next year, and the San Francisco 49ers will be the first team to pounce should they falter in any way.
It does not matter what team sport you compete in, probably the most important key to success is the consistency and stability in which an organisation or team is run. The process with which the Seahawks have just completed with winning the Superbowl began four years ago when both John Schneider and Pete Carroll came into the organisation, in the General Manager and Head Coach positions respectively.
Right from day one the message that was put to the team was ‘Always compete’, a mantra which brought Carroll almost unmatched success while the Head Coach of USC. It wasn’t easy to begin with, but the organisation knew they were heading in the right direction, it was just a matter of time. The team’s draft class of 2012 which included players like Russell Wilson and influential linebacker Bobby Wagner, was the catalyst which propelled the team to new heights.
On the other end of the spectrum The Cleveland Browns are a team which epitomises the concept of instability. They sacked their head coach Rob Chudzinski after only one season; a season which saw the team develop into a squad which could be moulded into a contender in the AFC North. Have you seen their name in any Superbowl contest that you can remember?
With the way the Superbowl went this year, this armchair critic can firmly say that the defence is a much more potent tool to have on your team than a high flying offence, especially in the playoffs. The Denver Broncos had statistically the best offence of all-time during the regular season and could easily take apart the average defences which the Chargers and Patriots fielded against them.
The Seahawks on the other hand scraped through the end of the regular season and playoffs with an offence which was seen as lacking, but a defence which stopped everyone who they faced them. This year’s Superbowl was ‘the irresistible force against the immovable object’, and we know who came out on top.
In short, as the line goes, Offences win games, Defences win Championships.