The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

February 3, 2014

Column: Super Bowl quickly went to the dogs

ENID, Okla. — It was a great game.

There was lots of action, it was fun to watch and it was a real nail-biter, with one team coming from behind late to win.

The Super Bowl? No, I was talking about the Kitten Bowl, won by the North Shore Bengals 24-20 over the Cedar Cove Cougars on a late score.

That was cats, but the Super Bowl quickly went to the dogs.

The Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 whipping of the Denver Broncos proved the old sports axiom, offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.

Seattle’s offense, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, was OK, but not spectacular. The Seahawks’ offense did not win the first Super Bowl title in franchise history, the defense did.

The game was a matchup of the NFL’s best offense (Denver’s) against the league’s No. 1 defense (Seattle’s), and the results were clear — the Seahawks’ defense dominated the Broncos’ record-setting attack.

The Seahawks came in with a reputation of being a hard-hitting defense that swarmed to the football, and they didn’t disappoint. They played with more energy than the Broncos, who seemed a bit off-kilter from the first snap of the game, which wound up in the back of the Denver end zone for a safety and the fastest score in Super Bowl history — 12 seconds.

By the time Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage at halftime, the game was pretty much out of hand.

Then, when Seattle’s Percy Harvin ran the second half kickoff back for a touchdown, millions of televisions switched off the game in favor of something else, like the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet or the Kitten Bowl on Hallmark.

It got so bad I wished I had DVR’ed the game just so I could skip over the action on the field and watch the commercials.

The game was supposed to be another key piece of the legacy of Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. Instead it was his second disappointing Super Bowl performance.

Manning, for his part, was infinitely gracious in defeat, even seeking out obstreperous Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman for a post-game congratulatory handshake, and refusing to label the defeat “embarrassing,” saying that term was insulting to the Seahawks, whom he called “a great football team.”

Now the questions begin as to whether the Broncos’ window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl under Manning has closed. Peyton says he wants to come back, but faces a physical exam next month that could prompt his retirement should he fail.

The question surrounding Seattle next season, meanwhile, will center around whether or not the team will continue to be hungry in the wake of a championship. No team has won back-to-back championships since the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005, and in fact the past two Super Bowl winners failed to even make the playoffs the next season.

Now begins the long winter, spring and summer of our discontent, football fans, though take heart, there are some high points coming over the next six months.

Wednesday is national signing day for college football programs, spring practice begins next month, the NFL draft begins May 8, NFL training camps open in July and college teams begin preseason practice in August.

The best news of all is that it is only 205 days until college football season opens Aug. 28 with a couple of Thursday games, and only 212 days until the first game of the NFL’s regular season Sept. 4.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.

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