Super Bowl XLVIII was a disaster from the start. The Broncos started the game by botching a snap and it only got worse from there. The Broncos could not protect Peyton Manning or hold onto the ball the entire game, proving once again that defense wins championships.
In this pass-happy NFL that Rodger Goodell built, we have bought into the lie that an elite quarterback and a high-flying offense are necessary to win Super Bowls. That is clearly not the truth.
One of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game rolled into New York with three Pro Bowl-caliber receivers and an elite tight end, but Manning left with one touchdown. The weather was not a factor, but what many have called the best offense ever was unable to score points.
The NFL made several rule changes that favor offenses. Defensive backs are not allowed to make contact with receivers after five yards anymore, and delivering bone-crushing hits above the shoulders is a flag. However, the Seahawks adjusted their game while still creating the havoc that is the calling card of any great defense.
Peyton Manning’s famous pre-snap antics have been well documented, from his hand signals to his much-publicized yelling of “Omaha” before nearly every play. But nothing that Manning did could stop the Seahawks from flying around the field, tackling efficiently and putting pressure on the quarterback.
Offense in the NFL is just like an orchestra. It takes each person on the field doing his job precisely in order to be successful. While the rest of America is enamored with 11 men working in perfect synchronization, the much-overlooked defenses are simply trying to throw off someone’s rhythm.
The Hawks played press coverage for most of the game in order to throw off the timing of the Broncos and force Manning to hold the ball. Meanwhile, Seattle’s pass rushers came screaming off the edge with nasty intentions and put pressure on the quarterback, which forced Manning to get rid of the ball quickly. The simple paradox created by Seattle’s defense was enough to cause four turnovers and dominate the game.
Great offenses put fans in the seats and sell jerseys, but they don’t win championships. Tom Brady won all three of his rings behind a stout defense and a great running game. Terry Bradshaw’s four rings came behind the Steel Curtain. The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls behind Hall of Fame quarterbacks Rodger Staubach and Troy Aikman. However, the ‘boys never game up more than 17 points in a Super Bowl win.
In the 48 years the Super Bowl has been played, the winning team has given up more than 30 points one time. Seattle’s victory is just another reminder of what the statistics have been saying for 50 years. Defense always has and always will win championships.