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Can The Nonsense! Seattle Was Simply Better

Monday, February 03, 2014

 

This is, by far, the worst morning to be a sports’ fan, a morning where every hung-over, insipid pinhead vomits his half-witted analysis all over your social media newsfeed.

With lame-brained theories and recycled talk-show rhetoric flying around faster than Seattle’s secondary, it’s hard to pinpoint which post-Super Bowl manifesto is the most insulting to our collective intelligence.

Truth is, we’re a lot smarter than we speak, act and think sometimes, but nothing brings out the worst from the foam-finger waving, face-painting members of Nitwit Nation more than the pain and suffering of a long-standing rival, namely Peyton Manning, whose performance in last night’s 48-3 loss was more Joey Harrington than Joe Montana.

This was supposed to be Manning’s “legacy” game, a theory supported only by those who think three and a half hours on a Sunday night in February defines a career spanning 14 years and more than 240 games, but the only legacy carved out last night was that of Seattle’s unsung defense, which gave us a complete masterpiece as dominant as any in the 48-year history of the Super Bowl.

Can the shock-jock hyperbole. Nobody would’ve beaten that defense last night. Tom Brady couldn’t even put a dent in the same Broncos’ defense that made Russell Wilson look like Doug Williams, let alone compete against a Seattle front seven that smothered Manning from A to Z. The Legion of Boom would’ve given a prime Dan Marino fits. If that were Montana under center, it would’ve been Jim Burt v. 2.0 with Montana being carried out of New York on a stretcher the way he was in 1987 when the Giants routed the 49ers in the playoffs.

This is in no way an apology for Manning’s performance last night. He didn’t play nearly well enough to win, nor did he get much help. His line blocked like the E-ZPass on the New York Thruway, that is, when his center – fittingly named Manny Ramirez – wasn’t snapping the ball 15 feet over his head through the back of the end zone. The defense couldn’t get off the field on third down and the kickoff coverage unit took the wind out of everyone’s sails when it allowed Percy Harvin to open the second half with an 87-yard return for a touchdown.

You can’t blame Manning for Demaryius Thomas’ butterfingers when he fumbled away a golden opportunity in the third quarter or for Julius Thomas basically running the wrong route on Manning’s first interception. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a quarterback who wouldn’t throw a floating duck with a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end chopping away at your arm like Daniel LaRusso.

Manning didn’t choke. The Broncos got beat. You actually have to have a lead at some point in a game in order to choke it away (see Super Bowls XLII and XLVI). Denver never led, nor was it ever in this game. In our haste to place all the blame on one player’s shoulders, we forget that not only is this a team game, but that sometimes the team on the other side of the field is that much better. Maybe it’s the booze or the Buffalo wings talking. We commend complete team victories like the one Seattle pieced together last night, but never acknowledge team losses on the flipside, instead trying to finger one player as the scapegoat.

It’s time to give Seattle its due. In 2013, the Seahawks became the first team since the 1985 Chicago Bears – widely considered the greatest defense of all time – to lead the league in fewest yards allowed, fewest points allowed and most forced turnovers. Their dominance last night should’ve come as no surprise, even if the quarterback on the other side threw 55 touchdowns this year.

This in no way impacts Manning’s legacy or changes anything he’s done over the past 14 years, and the idea that a win would’ve ended the great Brady-Manning-Montana debate is revisionist history at its worst. Winning the Super Bowl in 2006 was supposed to quell the theory that Manning “can’t win the big one,” and yet when Manning threw a critical pick-six three years later in his attempt to win a second title, the sycophants were back to their old tricks. As well as Manning has performed in many, many big spots, there’s always someone to point out the fact he’s had eight one-and-dones or that others have done more.

Cockroaches never die, and great debates never end. We just change the rules of war as we go along. Judging a quarterback based on the number of Super Bowls his team wins is pointless, unless you think Terry Bradshaw is one of the two greatest quarterbacks of the past 50 years since he and Montana are the only two to win it four times. Numbers don’t necessarily lie. They just get manipulated. John Elway lost the big game three times, yet his legacy is intact because he won his last two attempts in 1997 and 1998 in the twilight of his career. Manning has lost more playoff games than any quarterback in NFL history, but has also played in the third most and is fifth on the all-time win list. Perspective is a wonderful tool.

We often remember great athletes, for better or for worse, based on the final few snapshots of their career, and if Manning walks away for good following last night’s loss, it’ll be a shame if people try to summarize his entire career in one tidy paragraph based off of one lousy night in East Rutherford.

This was Seattle’s night, not Manning’s. The Seahawks are the story, deservedly so, and it’s time we bury the lazy, unoriginal Manning clichés and appreciate the effort on the other side of the field. All we ask for is a little perspective. And a fresh newsfeed.

 

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