JOE BIDDLE: Peyton Manning had a nightmare Super Bowl game - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Peyton Manning had a nightmare Super Bowl game


Well, well. Super Bowl XLVIII outdid itself.

They had the halftime entertainment to start the game. They managed to put Denver quarterback Peyton Manning in a time machine.

That wasn't John Fox on the Broncos sideline. It was Phillip Fulmer.

That wasn't Pete Carroll on Seattle's sideline. That was Steve Spurrier.

It was back to the future for Peyton Manning. Vols fans had seen this movie before.

Manning had a Florida flashback. The Gators were Manning's Kryptonite when he was at Tennessee. On Super Bowl Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks were disguised as Gators.

In a game hyped as the NFL's best offense against its best defense, it never materialized. Only Seattle's Legion of Boom defense played to its billing. Denver's offense was a no-show.

Maybe Joe Namath's botched coin flip got the Broncos off track. Maybe it was their pre-game meal. How else do you explain Manning, the NFL's Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year, playing like Joe the Plumber?

Denver went to intermission on the short end of the 22-0 score. To make matters worse for the Broncos, Seattle's Percy Harvin opened the second half with an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that pretty much slammed the door shut on the Broncos. And where did Harvin play college football? Yep. He's a Gator.

A close-up of Manning watching the former Florida star fly down the field showed his utter disgust.

It took 12 seconds to put Seattle on the scoreboard via a safety to start the game. It took 12 seconds for Harvin to stick a fork in the Broncos to start the third quarter.

It was Seattle's team speed on both sides of the ball that proved the difference. It was so vast it would stretch across the Grand Canyon.

I don't know which was worse, the bland Super Bowl ads or Manning. Omaha, Omaha. My foot.

Nothing worked for the Broncos. Offense. Defense. Special teams. They got all F's on their report cards. It was a 43-8 beat-down to beat all beat-downs.

They had a nice drive going in the third quarter when Manning hit DeMaryius Thomas for a big gainer and what did Thomas do? He had the ball punched out of his arm and poof – Denver had its turnover hat trick.

So what does this do to Manning's legacy? The "Peyton can't win the big one'' critics will be crowing, and with some valid reasons. One game cannot come close to take away what Manning was able to do this season and in his career. But it sure left a sour taste in even his biggest fans' mouths.

"They just made more plays on defense than we did, forced some turnovers,'' Manning said. "To finish this way was very disappointing. I don't know if you ever get over it. You have to find a way to deal with it.''

Down 36-0 late in the third quarter, Manning continued to dink and dunk with short passes. At 37 years old and coming back from four neck surgeries it seemed obvious that Manning wasn't able to throw deep downfield with any zip or degree of accuracy.

Denver did manage to escape a shutout when Manning threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to DeMaryius Thomas and added a pass to Wes Welker for the two-point conversion. Small consolation as Seattle posted yet another touchdown to make it 43-8.

"We ran into a buzzsaw tonight,'' Denver Coach John Fox said of Seattle's defense. "They stripped the ball a couple of times and had two interceptions, one for a touchdown.''

While Manning struggled, Seattle's second year pro Russell Wilson played with poise and polish belying his age.
He was 18 of 25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't have a turnover, ran for 26 yards to keep drives alive and had a 123.1 passer rating compared to Manning's 72.0.

It remains to be seen what Manning's future holds. Will this make him even more determined to get that elusive second Super Bowl ring, or will his age and health concerns outweigh that desire?

The five-time MVP has some more gas in his tank, but Sunday night was a bitter pill for him to swallow.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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