Super Bowl XLVIII
|Date||February 2, 2014|
|Stadium||MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey|
|MVP||Malcolm Smith, Linebacker|
|Favorite||Broncos by 2|
|National anthem||Renée Fleming|
|Coin toss||Joe Namath, Phil Simms|
|Halftime show||Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Joe Buck (play-by-play)
Troy Aikman (analyst)
Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews (sideline reporters)
|Nielsen ratings||46.4 (national)
50.5 (New York)
US viewership: 111.5 million est. avg., 167 million est. total
|Market share||69 (national)|
|Cost of 30-second commercial||$4 million|
Super Bowl XLVIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos and National Football Conference (NFC) champion Seattle Seahawks to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2013 season. The Seahawks defeated the Broncos 43–8, the largest margin of victory for an underdog and tied for the third largest point differential overall (35) in Super Bowl history with Super Bowl XXVII (1993). It was the first time the winning team scored over 40 points, while holding their opponent to under 10. This became the first Super Bowl victory for the Seahawks and the fifth Super Bowl loss for the Broncos, the most of any team. The game was played on February 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather city and the first Super Bowl to be played on a February 2.
For the first time since Super Bowl XLIV (2010), and just the second time since Super Bowl XXVIII (1994), the number one seed from each conference met in the league championship. The Seahawks posted a 13–3 record and were making their second Super Bowl appearance in 8 years. The Broncos were making their seventh Super Bowl appearance after also posting a 13–3 record. The game also featured the league's top offense (Denver) against the league's top defense (Seattle), the first time this had occurred since Super Bowl XXXVII (2003).
Seattle built a 22–0 halftime lead, and then a 36–0 advantage before allowing Denver's first and only score on the final play of the third quarter. The Seahawks defense scored a safety on the first play from scrimmage, the quickest score in Super Bowl history. They also became the first team in a Super Bowl to score on a safety, a kickoff return for a touchdown, and an interception return for a touchdown. The Broncos were held to almost 30 points below their scoring average. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a five-time NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award winner, threw two interceptions in the first half. Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, who returned one of those interceptions 69-yards for a touchdown, recovered a fumble and made nine tackles, was named Super Bowl MVP. Throwing for two touchdowns with no interceptions, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson became the fifth straight quarterback to win the Super Bowl without an interception, joining Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning and Joe Flacco; however, Wilson was the only quarterback on the list not to be named MVP.
The game is also memorable for soprano Renee Fleming's emotional and groundbreaking performance of "The Star Spangled Banner". Because of all of this, the game's telecast on Fox broke the record for the most-watched program in American television history up to that time with an average audience of 111.5 million viewers, and remains the highest-rated television program in the history of the Fox Network. The Super Bowl halftime show featuring Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers reached up to 115.3 million viewers. Also at the time, the game broke the then-record for the most discussed game on Twitter, with over 24.9 million tweets.
- 1 Background
- 2 Broadcasting
- 3 Entertainment
- 4 Game summary
- 5 Final statistics
- 6 Starting lineups
- 7 Mass Transit Super Bowl
- 8 Security and safety
- 9 Officials
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Host selection process
Three stadiums were part of the bidding to host the game:
- MetLife Stadium—East Rutherford, New Jersey
- Raymond James Stadium—Tampa, Florida
- Sun Life Stadium—Miami Gardens, Florida
During the voting process by the league owners, the South Florida/Miami bid was eliminated in the second round of voting, but it eventually took the fourth round of voting for New Jersey's bid to beat Tampa's. The game was awarded on May 26, 2010 at the NFL owners meetings in Irving, Texas.
Super Bowl XLVIII was the first Super Bowl held at an open-air stadium in a "cold-weather" city; previous Super Bowls in cold-weather cities were held at indoor stadiums. However, the temperature at kickoff was a mild 49 °F (9 °C), making this only the third coldest game in Super Bowl History. Ironically enough, a major snow storm hit the area the very next day. According to Weather.com, the average high and low temperatures for East Rutherford on February 2 were 39 °F (4 °C) and 20 °F (−7 °C), respectively. The coldest outdoor Super Bowl of the first 47 games was Super Bowl VI, held at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans on January 16, 1972, with a kickoff temperature of 39 °F (4 °C). However, New Orleans usually has a humid subtropical climate, with January morning lows averaging around 46 °F (8 °C) and daily highs around 63 °F (17 °C); also, all New Orleans Super Bowls since XII have been played at the indoor Superdome. Since Super Bowl X in 1976, all but one outdoor Super Bowl has been played in either California or Florida, the exception being Super Bowl XXX in Tempe, Arizona. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated that if Super Bowl XLVIII was successful, additional "cold-weather" Super Bowls would be considered.
Super Bowl XLVIII was the first NFL championship game to be held in the New York metropolitan area since December 30, 1962, when the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants in the original Yankee Stadium, 16–7. Since then, two other major pro football leagues have held title games in the area:
- 1968 AFL Championship Game at Shea Stadium, December 29, 1968: New York Jets 27, Oakland Raiders 23. The Jets went on to Super Bowl III, where they upset the Baltimore Colts, 16–7.
- 1985 USFL Championship Game at Giants Stadium, July 14, 1985: Baltimore Stars 28, Oakland Invaders 24. This game would turn out to be the final contest in the league's three-year history.
New York City was scheduled to host Super Bowl XLIV upon the completion of the proposed West Side Stadium. When the stadium proposal was rejected, Sun Life Stadium was selected to host the game instead.
MetLife Stadium was the first Super Bowl venue that was simultaneously home to two NFL teams: the New York Giants and the New York Jets, and thus was the first championship game to have two host teams. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (which hosted Super Bowls I and VII) served as the home of the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Raiders, but not at the same time.
This was also the first Super Bowl played outdoors on artificial turf (FieldTurf) since Super Bowl X (1976) at the Miami Orange Bowl. It was also the first in which two U.S. states, New York and New Jersey, shared hosting duties. This was also the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors since Super Bowl XLIV was played in Miami Gardens.
Winter outlook and contingency plans
The choice of holding the Super Bowl outdoors in a cold weather environment generated some controversy. When it was released in August 2013, the "Winter Outlook" section in the 2014 Farmers' Almanac predicted that a winter storm would hit just about the time Super Bowl XLVIII kicked off; this generated the attention of several media sources, including ESPN's Rick Reilly in a piece that aired on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown on October 21, 2013. In a radio interview broadcast on WFAN, Fox studio analyst Terry Bradshaw stated that he opposes the idea of a cold Super Bowl, stating "I don't want it to be bad ... What if we get two passing teams?" In a piece published on Sports Illustrated's "Monday Morning Quarterback" site, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman also opposed holding the game at MetLife Stadium, stating that "it's the league's responsibility to show its audience the best possible product, and this can't happen in the snow". The decision to play the game in New Jersey was made even more controversial by the fact that the NFL informed the Miami Dolphins that Sun Life Stadium would never host another Super Bowl until they put a roof over the stadium for fear of rain.
The NFL announced on December 18, 2013, that in the event of a forecast of heavy snow, the game would be rescheduled for the Saturday before, or for the Monday or Tuesday after.
One day before the Super Bowl, weather conditions for the game were forecast to be mostly cloudy with temperatures in the low to mid-40s Fahrenheit.
A winter storm arrived 6 hours after the game ended, dropping 8 inches of snow on the region. The inclement weather cancelled one quarter of the flights available at the area's 3 major airports, stranding thousands.
Super Bowl XLVIII earned a few unofficial nicknames, with the "Weed Bowl", "Bong Bowl", and "Marijuana Bowl" being among the most prominent, from users of social networking websites and various news outlets as the home states of the Seahawks and Broncos (Washington and Colorado, respectively) were the first two states to legalize marijuana for recreational use, during the fall 2012 elections.
The offense was led by second-year quarterback Russell Wilson, a third-round draft pick who won the starting role after a three-way quarterback competition in training camp and went on to win a playoff game in his rookie season with the Seahawks. In his second season, he completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 3,357 yards and 26 touchdowns, with only nine interceptions, while also rushing for 539 yards and another score. His 101.2 passer rating ranked him seventh in the NFL, and made him the first quarterback in history with a triple digit passer rate in his first two seasons. His top target was Pro Bowl receiver Golden Tate, who caught 64 passes for 898 yards and five touchdowns. Tate was also a major asset on special teams, returning 51 punts for 585 yards (second in the NFL). Other key targets included Doug Baldwin (50 receptions, 775 yards, five touchdowns) and tight end Zach Miller (33 receptions, 387 yards, five touchdowns). Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch was the team's leading rusher with 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was also a reliable receiver, hauling in 36 passes for 316 yards and two more scores. The Seahawks' offensive line was led by Pro Bowl center Max Unger. Kicker Steven Hauschka ranked fourth in the NFL in scoring (143 points) and second in field goal percentage (.943, 33/35).
Seattle had the NFL's top defense, with the fewest yards allowed per game (273.6), fewest points allowed (231), and most takeaways (39). They were the first team since the 1985 Chicago Bears to lead the league in all three categories. The Seahawks were also the fourth team to lead the NFL in interceptions and fewest passing yards allowed; all four teams reached the Super Bowl. Seattle's defensive line featured defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, both of whom recorded eight sacks. Avril also forced five fumbles, while Bennett recovered three, returning them for 39 yards and a touchdown. Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald also made a big impact with 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, and an interception. Linebacker Bobby Wagner led the team in combined tackles (120), while also racking up five sacks and two interceptions. But the best aspect of the defense was their secondary – collectively known as the Legion of Boom – which sent three of their four starters to the Pro Bowl: cornerback Richard Sherman, who led the NFL in interceptions (eight, with 125 return yards), along with free safety Earl Thomas (five interceptions, 105 tackles, two forced fumbles) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (99 tackles, three interceptions, 78 return yards).
Denver finished the season 13–3 for the second straight year, winning the AFC West division and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Broncos had the best offense in the NFL, leading the league in points scored (606, the highest total in NFL history) and yards gained (7,313). The offense was so explosive that they scored points on their opening possession at least eight straight games leading into the playoffs and a ninth time against the San Diego Chargers during the Divisional Playoffs game. During the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots, they broke that streak, only to score on the opening possession of the second half. In only five out of 18 games (including playoffs) did they score fewer than 30 points, the fewest being 20 points.
In command of the offense was 16-year veteran quarterback Peyton Manning. Now in his second year as the team's starter, Manning posted one of the best seasons of any quarterback in NFL history, leading the league in completions, attempts, yards, and touchdown passes. His 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdown completions both set new NFL records. His 450 completions were the second highest total in NFL history, and his 115.1 passer rating ranked second in the league. Denver's leading pass-catcher was Pro Bowl receiver Demaryius Thomas, who caught 92 passes for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns. But Manning had plenty of other reliable options, including Eric Decker (97 receptions, 1,288 yards, 11 touchdowns), Wes Welker (73 receptions, 778 yards, 10 touchdowns), and Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas (65 receptions, 788 yards, 12 touchdowns). Overall, they made Denver the first team in NFL history ever to have four players with at least 10 touchdown receptions in a season. Running back Knowshon Moreno was the team's leading rusher with 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also catching 60 passes for 548 yards and another three scores. Rookie running back Montee Ball was also a big contributor with 554 rushing yards, four touchdowns, and 20 receptions. The team's offensive line featured Pro Bowl guard Louis Vasquez. On special teams, Pro Bowl kicker Matt Prater ranked second in the NFL in scoring (150 points) and first in field goal percentage (.962, 25/26). His only miss of the year was from 52 yards, and he set a new NFL record for the longest field goal ever made (64 yards), breaking a record that had stood for 44 years.
Defensive end Shaun Phillips anchored the Broncos' line with 10 sacks, while linebacker Danny Trevathan racked up 129 combined tackles, three forced fumbles, and three interceptions. Defensive end Malik Jackson was also a key component of the defense with 42 tackles and six sacks, helping compensate for the loss of Von Miller, who had five sacks in nine games before suffering a season-ending injury. Cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Chris Harris Jr. led the secondary with three interceptions each.
Both the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos entered the postseason as the number one seed in their respective conferences, and as such started with first-round byes.
The Seahawks' first playoff game was in the NFC divisional round, a rematch of Monday Night Football from Week 13, playing the New Orleans Saints at home. The Seahawks had a 16-point lead at halftime, but although the Saints were able to halve the deficit in the fourth quarter, they could not close the gap further before a botched play in the final seconds ended the game, with the Seahawks winning 23–15.
The Seahawks then played in the NFC Championship Game at home against the rival San Francisco 49ers; the two teams had each won once against the other during the regular season. Despite entering halftime with a 7-point deficit, the Seahawks took the lead in the fourth quarter thanks largely to Colin Kaepernick losing one fumble and throwing two interceptions. The second interception came in the final seconds of the game when Richard Sherman batted the ball into the arms of Malcolm Smith to seal the 23–17 win and send the Seahawks to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.
The Broncos faced the San Diego Chargers in the AFC divisional round. Although their record-breaking offense was held to an unusually low 24 points, the Broncos still emerged victorious, 24–17, having shut out the Chargers until the fourth quarter.
The AFC Championship Game once again pitted Peyton Manning and his Broncos against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the 15th matchup between the two veteran quarterbacks. The Broncos won 26–16 on the back of a 400-yard passing performance by Manning, which included two touchdown drives that lasted over seven minutes each, earning the Broncos their first Super Bowl berth since 1998.
As the Broncos were the designated home team in the annual rotation between AFC and NFC teams, they elected to wear their home uniform (orange jerseys with white pants) while the Seahawks wore a mixed uniform (white jerseys with navy-blue pants, representing away and home, respectively). With the loss, the Broncos fell to 0–4 (outscored 167–38) in Super Bowls in which they wore orange jerseys, while with the Seahawks' win, the team wearing white had then won nine of the previous ten Super Bowls.
Holding the game in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut Tri-State Area created the possibility of a "cold weather Super Bowl", leading to much controversy about whether or not MetLife Stadium was an appropriate venue. Further raising the possibility that cold temperatures could have affected the game was that the winter of 2014 was particularly cold in North America. However, the concerns never materialized as a timely warm front had moved into the region prior to the game; the kick-off temperature for the game was 49 °F (9 °C), never threatening the Super Bowl record low temperature of 39 °F (4 °C) in Super Bowl VI, held at New Orleans' Tulane Stadium. Precipitation was limited to an occasional drizzle in the latter portions of the game.
The Hyatt Regency in Jersey City, New Jersey served as the home for the Broncos during their stay. The team took up 150 of the 351 rooms until the night of January 29 before taking up the entire hotel. The team hosted the press conferences during the week on a cruise ship docked at the pier of the hotel. Meanwhile, the Seahawks took up 120 to 150 of 429-room Westin Hotel, also in Jersey City. The team retrofitted some rooms into training and massage rooms and occupied the pool. The City of Jersey City renamed its main boulevard, Columbus Drive, to Super Bowl Drive to welcome the teams.
The Broncos utilized the New York Jets headquarters, Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, in Florham Park, New Jersey, while the Seahawks utilized the New York Giants headquarters, Quest Diagnostics Training Center adjacent to MetLife Stadium.
Super Bowl week
Since New York and New Jersey co-hosted the Super Bowl, pregame events took place in both states. The official kickoff of the Super Bowl week was on January 27 with a concert at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey followed by the Macy's fireworks. The "Super Bowl Kickoff Spectacular" was the first major kickoff event of the Super Bowl in NFL history. Media Day took place on January 28 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Broadway, from 34th to 47th streets, was transformed into Super Bowl Boulevard from January 29 to February 1, allowing the public to participate in various NFL-related activities. The boulevard was to contain activities such as autographs, a 60-foot (18 m)-high toboggan run, and photographs with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. As the area was expected to see around 400,000 people, security was increased in the area.
- January 26 – Arrival at Newark Liberty International Airport and welcome in Jersey City
- January 27 – Super Bowl Kickoff Spectacular, including fireworks by Macy's at Liberty State Park, Jersey City
- January 28 – Super Bowl Media Day at Prudential Center, Newark
- January 29 to February 1 – Super Bowl Boulevard on Broadway between 34th and 47th Streets, Midtown Manhattan
- February 2 – Super Bowl XLVIII, NFL On Location, and NFL Tailgate Party at Meadowlands Sports Complex
Super Bowl XLVIII was televised by Fox in the United States, with Joe Buck calling play-by-play, Troy Aikman as color analyst, and Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews as sideline reporters. The broadcast attracted 111.5 million viewers, becoming the most-watched event in U.S. television history and surpassing the previous record of 111.3 million viewers who watched Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. Episodes of New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine were the lead-out programs.
For the third consecutive year, a webcast was provided for viewers. Fox and Fox Deportes streamed its coverage of the game online on PCs and tablets through its new TV Everywhere service Fox Sports Go. Although normally requiring a television subscription to use, Fox made the service available as a free preview for the Super Bowl. Due to contractual restrictions imposed by the NFL's exclusive digital and mobile content deals with Microsoft and Verizon Communications, Fox was unable to offer any additional camera angles or offer streaming on smartphones. Mobile streaming of the game was exclusive to the Verizon Wireless NFL Mobile service.
For the first time in Super Bowl history, a dedicated Spanish language telecast of the game was broadcast in the United States. The broadcast was carried by sister cable network Fox Deportes as part of a larger package of marquee games simulcast from Fox, and featured commentary and surrounding coverage in that language. As with all NFL games, the Spanish play-by-play was also carried via Fox's SAP feed. With 561,000 viewers, the Fox Deportes broadcast was the highest-rated U.S. Spanish-language cable telecast outside of soccer.
Fox set the sales rate for a 30-second advertisement at US$4 million, matching the price set by CBS for Super Bowl XLVII. Fox began selling advertising for the game in May 2013 and announced it had sold out on December 4.
Adbowl hired a group of experts to analyze ads in the Super Bowl. Budweiser's "Puppy Love" was crowned as the "consumers' choice of the best commercial of the game." The USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter also named the Budweiser ad as the best of the game. Meanwhile, a Coca-Cola spot with people of diverse cultures singing "America the Beautiful" in various languages ignited controversy, with political commentators such as Glenn Beck, Todd Starnes and Allen West condemning the ad for discouraging assimilation, while others considered it a tribute to the idea of the United States as a melting pot.
Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., Universal Studios and Walt Disney Studios paid for movie trailers to be aired during the Super Bowl. Following Monsters vs. Aliens' footsteps, Paramount paid for the debut trailers for Transformers: Age of Extinction and Noah, Sony paid for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, RoboCop, The Monuments Men, and Pompeii, Lionsgate paid for Draft Day, Warner Bros. paid for The Lego Movie, Universal paid for Neighbors, and Disney paid for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Need for Speed, and Muppets Most Wanted.
The game was nationally broadcast on Westwood One radio, with Kevin Harlan as play-by-play announcer, Boomer Esiason as color analyst, and James Lofton and Mark Malone as sideline reporters. Jim Gray hosted the network's pregame, halftime, and post-game coverage. Scott Graham, who hosted additional pregame coverage for Westwood One, also served as MetLife Stadium's public address system announcer for the game.
Local market coverage
The flagship stations of each station in the markets of each team carried their local play-by-play calls. In Seattle, KIRO-FM (97.3) and KIRO (710 AM) carried the "Seahawks Bing Radio Network" call with Steve Raible on play-by-play and Warren Moon with color commentary, while in Denver, the Broncos play-by-play from the "Denver Broncos Radio Network" aired on KOA (850 AM) and KRFX (103.5) with the play-by-play of Dave Logan and the color commentary of Ed McCaffrey. The Spanish-language partner of the Broncos, KJMN (92.1)/KMXA (1090) carried the game in that language for the Denver market. Sirius XM Radio carried the Westwood One and local team feeds over satellite radio, along with the call in eight other languages. Outside of those stations, all the other stations in the Seahawks and Broncos radio networks carried the Westwood One call per NFL rules. KOA and KIRO are both clear-channel stations, which allowed listeners throughout most of the western US to hear the portion of the contest which continued past sunset local time.
International radio coverage
Westwood One's coverage was simulcast on TSN Radio in Canada.
In the United Kingdom, Absolute Radio 90s carried the game for the first time, taking over rights from the BBC, who carried the contest for several years prior. The in-house Absolute Radio broadcast featured Darren Fletcher on color commentary (the same capacity in which he served with the BBC), Rocky Boiman with additional contributions and Will Gavin on play-by-play.
The pregame show began with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Marching Band and Syracuse University Marching Band. Queen Latifah, joined by the New Jersey Youth Chorus, sang "America the Beautiful". "The Star-Spangled Banner" was then sung by Renée Fleming, the first, (and, so far, only), opera singer ever to do so at a Super Bowl. A V-shaped formation of three United States Army Black Hawks, three Apache attack helicopters and three Chinook heavy-lifters did a military flyover timed with the last note of the song.
On September 8, 2013, the league announced that Bruno Mars would perform at halftime. On January 10, 2014, it was announced that Red Hot Chili Peppers would be joining Mars as halftime show performers. The show opened with a children's choir singing a chorus from "Billionaire." Afterward, Mars appeared, playing a drum solo. Mars then performed the songs "Locked Out of Heaven", "Treasure", "Runaway Baby", "Give It Away" (with Red Hot Chili Peppers) and "Just the Way You Are" as a tribute to the United States Armed Forces. The halftime performance was the most watched in the history of the Super Bowl drawing in a record 115.3 million viewers, passing the record 114 million who watched Madonna perform two years earlier. It was later revealed that the music was pre-recorded. Red Hot Chili Pepper's drummer, Chad Smith responded on Twitter by saying "FYI... Every band in the last 10 years at the Super Bowl has performed to a previously recorded track. It's the NFL's policy."
Planners initially indicated there would not be a halftime show at all due to the possibility of poor weather conditions. One such logistical problem would be assembling and disassembling the halftime show stage during a blizzard. But the league went ahead after all. According to Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.com, the NFL wanted to avoid a repeat of Super Bowl XXVI when Fox counter-programmed a special live episode of In Living Color. Fox had not yet become a television partner with the NFL and saw an opportunity to pull young audiences away from a halftime show that lacked big-name performers. As a result of Fox's ratings success, the league tapped Michael Jackson to perform during the following season's Super Bowl XXVII, and since then the league has continued to book big-name talent to hold the television audience.
Touchdown Entertainment, the company that produced the event, incorporated the live audience into the show and transformed the crowd into "the largest ever LED screen". During the show, spectators put on a black knitted hat called a "video ski hat" with 3 embedded LEDs that lit up on command. The hats transformed the audience into an enormous human video screen made up of over 80,000 pixels. Images including the Pepsi logo flashed across the crowd, as well as video of the live Red Hot Chili Peppers performance and fireworks display. Thanks to this technology, each spectator was integrated to the show, and the Super Bowl Halftime laid claim to the largest ever human video screen. The company that invented and provided the crowd activation technology is the Montreal-based company PixMob.
On Denver's first play after receiving the opening kickoff, center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball while Peyton Manning was shifting forward (from shotgun formation) in the process of calling an audible, resulting in the ball going past Manning into the end zone. Running back Knowshon Moreno recovered the ball to prevent a Seattle touchdown, but he was downed for a safety to give the Seahawks a 2–0 lead. Seattle's score just 12 seconds into the game was the quickest to start a game in Super Bowl history, surpassing the kickoff return by Devin Hester to start Super Bowl XLI seven years earlier (which coincidentally featured Peyton Manning, at the time the Colts' quarterback). Following the free kick, receiver Percy Harvin gained 30 yards on an end around run to set up Steven Hauschka's 31-yard field goal, making the score 5–0. Denver was forced to a three-and-out on their next drive, and after the Denver punt, Russell Wilson completed a 37-yard pass to Doug Baldwin, leading to another Hauschka field goal, this one from 33 yards, that increased the lead to 8–0. On the third play of Denver's ensuing possession, Manning was intercepted by Kam Chancellor, giving Seattle a first down on the Denver 37. Aided by a 15-yard run from Harvin on the first play, Seattle quickly got the ball into the red zone. The Broncos defense eventually managed to force an incomplete pass on third down, but defensive back Tony Carter was flagged for pass interference in the end zone, giving Seattle a first down at the one-yard line. One play later, Marshawn Lynch crashed into the end zone, hitting the line so effectively that he ended the play on his feet, scoring a 1-yard touchdown run that made the score 15–0 three minutes into the second quarter.
At this point, the Broncos offense finally managed to get moving, picking up a first down for the first time in the game at 10:37 and moving the ball to the Seattle 35-yard line. But on third-and-13, Manning was hit by Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril as he tried to throw a pass to Moreno, causing a high short floater that was intercepted by linebacker Malcolm Smith and returned 69 yards for a touchdown. After Seattle's kickoff, Denver mounted a drive to the Seahawks' 19-yard line, aided by Demaryius Thomas' 19-yard reception on third down and 5. With just over a minute left in the half, Denver faced fourth-and-2. Rather than kick a field goal, they tried to pick up a first down, but Manning's pass was incomplete and the score would remain 22–0 at the end of the half. The 22-point deficit was the largest faced by the Broncos all season. It was also the third-largest halftime deficit in Super Bowl history, and the previous two were also against the Broncos – the Redskins led the Broncos 35–10 in Super Bowl XXII and the 49ers led the Broncos 27–3 in Super Bowl XXIV.
In order to avoid a big kickoff return, Matt Prater kicked the second half kickoff short, hitting the ground at the Seattle 12-yard line. But it did not stop Harvin from picking the ball out of the air and taking off for an 87-yard touchdown return that increased Seattle's lead to 29–0. The touchdown took place 12 seconds into the second half, exactly the same amount of time that the Seahawks took to score the safety in the first half. It was also the first time that consecutive Super Bowls had kickoff returns for touchdowns (Jacoby Jones' return in Super Bowl XLVII being the previous one, which was also the second half opening kickoff). After an exchange of punts, Eric Decker gave Denver good field position with a 9-yard return to the Denver 45. Two plays later, Manning completed a 23-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas, but cornerback Byron Maxwell knocked the ball out of his hands and Malcolm Smith recovered it, returning the ball seven yards. An unnecessary roughness penalty against Denver added 15 more yards onto the end of the play, giving Seattle the ball at the Denver 42-yard line. Then Russell Wilson hit tight end Luke Willson for a 12-yard completion on third-and-7 and later completed a 19-yard pass to Ricardo Lockette. On the next play, he threw a short pass to Jermaine Kearse, who broke four tackles as he took off for a 23-yard touchdown reception bringing the score to 36–0.
Denver finally managed to respond on their next drive, advancing the ball 80 yards as Manning completed six consecutive passes, including a 22-yard completion to Wes Welker, and finishing the drive with a 14-yard touchdown toss to Demaryius Thomas on the last play of the third quarter. Then Welker caught a pass for a successful 2-point conversion, cutting the score to 36–8. However, any momentum Denver might have gained was quickly snuffed out as Seattle tight end Zach Miller recovered Prater's onside kick attempt on his own 48-yard line. He also caught a 10-yard reception as the Seahawks subsequently drove 52 yards, featuring a 24-yard reception by Kearse, and scoring on Wilson's 10-yard touchdown pass to Baldwin, increasing their lead to 43–8. There were more than 11 minutes left in the game, but this would be the final score, as Denver's last three drives would result in a turnover on downs, a Manning fumble that was forced and recovered by Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons (the only sack of the game for either team), and time expiring in the game.
Wilson finished the game 18/25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Baldwin was his top receiver with five catches for 66 yards and a score, while Kearse added four catches for 65 and a touchdown. In addition to his 87-yard kickoff return touchdown, Harvin was Seattle's leading rusher with 45 yards, even though he only carried the ball twice. Chancellor had nine tackles and an interception. Manning completed 34/49 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions. His top target was Demaryius Thomas, who caught 13 passes (a Super Bowl record) for 118 yards and a touchdown. Welker added eight receptions for 84 yards. Linebacker Danny Trevathan had 12 tackles. Moreno was Denver's leading rusher, but with just 17 yards. Overall, Denver's record setting offense gained only 306 yards, with just 27 yards on the ground.
Seahawks' LB Malcolm Smith was named the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. Denver fell to 2–5 in Super Bowls, while five-time league MVP Manning dropped to 11–12 in the playoffs, and 1–2 in the Super Bowl. Including Denver's loss, none of the eight highest-scoring teams in league history won a Super Bowl in the same season, and all four teams who entered the championship with the league's leading passer lost the game. Manning's 34 completions and Demaryius Thomas' 13 receptions were both Super Bowl records.
With touchdowns scored on offense, defense, and special teams, the Seahawks became the first team since the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV to do so. Teams with an interception return for a touchdown also stayed perfect, improving to 12–0 in Super Bowls. As a result of scoring their safety 12 seconds into the game and subsequently never relinquishing the lead for the rest of the game, the Seahawks set a Super Bowl record for holding a lead continuously for the longest time (59:48). Denver became only the second team in the past 30 years to score less than 10 points in the game.
|Statistic||Seattle Seahawks||Denver Broncos|
|First downs rushing||6||2|
|First downs passing||10||13|
|First downs penalty||1||3|
|Third down efficiency||7/12||6/13|
|Fourth down efficiency||0/2||0/3|
|Total net yards||341||306|
|Net yards rushing||135||27|
|Yards per rush||4.7||1.9|
|Net yards passing||206||279|
|Passing – completions/attempts||18/26||34/49|
|Times sacked-total yards||0–0||1–1|
|Punt returns-total yards||0–0||1–9|
|Kickoff returns-total yards||2–107||5–105|
|Interceptions-total return yards||2–71||0–0|
|Time of possession||31:53||28:07|
|Records set |
|Fastest score to open game||12 seconds||Seattle, safety|
|Most receptions, game||13||Demaryius Thomas (Denver)|
|Most pass completions, game||34||Peyton Manning (Denver)|
|Most losses, team||5||Denver|
|Largest halftime lead with a shutout||22–0||Seattle|
|Most safeties, game||1||Cliff Avril (Seattle)|
|Most touchdowns, kickoff returns, game||1||Percy Harvin (Seattle)|
|Most 2-point conversions, game||1||Wes Welker (Denver)|
|Fewest punts, team, game||1||Seattle|
|Fewest rushing touchdowns, team, game||0||Denver|
|Fewest fumbles, team, game||0||Seattle|
|C. J. Anderson||2||9||0||6||4.50|
|C. J. Anderson||1||14||0||14||1|
1Completions/attempts 2Carries 3Long gain 4Receptions 5Times targeted
|Doug Baldwin||WR||Demaryius Thomas|
|Russell Okung||LT||Chris Clark|
|James Carpenter||LG||Zane Beadles|
|Max Unger||C||Manny Ramirez|
|J. R. Sweezy||RG||Louis Vasquez|
|Breno Giacomini||RT||Orlando Franklin|
|Alvin Bailey||T||TE||Julius Thomas|
|Zach Miller||TE||WR||Eric Decker|
|Golden Tate||WR||Wes Welker|
|Russell Wilson||QB||Peyton Manning|
|Marshawn Lynch||RB||Knowshon Moreno|
|Cliff Avril||LDE||Malik Jackson|
|Michael Bennett||LDT||DT||Sylvester Williams|
|Clinton McDonald||RDT||NT||Terrance Knighton|
|Chris Clemons||RDE||Shaun Phillips|
|K. J. Wright||OLB||SLB||Nate Irving|
|Bobby Wagner||MLB||Paris Lenon|
|Walter Thurmond||CB||WLB||Danny Trevathan|
|Richard Sherman||LCB||Champ Bailey|
|Byron Maxwell||RCB||Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie|
|Kam Chancellor||SS||Duke Ihenacho|
|Earl Thomas||FS||Mike Adams|
Mass Transit Super Bowl
Organizers dubbed Super Bowl XLVIII the "Mass Transit Super Bowl", emphasizing and encouraging game attendees and other visitors to use public transportation to get to the game and other festivities throughout the region. The host committee in conjunction with other metropolitan transit agencies, such New Jersey Transit, the lead agency, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Metropolitan Transportation Authority developed special services, fares, schedules and maps to promote the use of metro area's trains, subways, light-rail, and buses during Super Bowl Week. However, the plan was considered a failure by fans and writers who attended the game due to poor execution and overcrowding.
Security and safety
The Super Bowl was considered a level one national security event. To that end, the New Jersey State Police and the NFL host committee installed a 2.5-mile chain-link perimeter fence around the Meadowlands Sports Complex, which is located at the intersection of a number of highways. Security planners stated that access to the area would be strictly limited and regulated. To that end, parking spaces were greatly reduced, tailgate parties restricted and walking to the venue strictly prohibited. Taxis and limousines were not permitted to drop off passengers. Passengers for trains to the stadium were limited in what they carry and were screened before boarding.
The area was patrolled on land, by air, and by water since it is surrounded by wetlands. More than 3,000 security guards and 700 police officers were on duty on game day. In addition, SWAT teams and snipers were located throughout the stadium. There was a no-fly zone and fighter jets patrolled the region. The security effort was overseen by a joint operations center a few miles away from MetLife Stadium, which was staffed by hundreds of people from 35 different agencies ranging from the CIA to the New Jersey Transit Police.
In February 2013, controversy arose with mayors of five local municipalities saying they would not provide emergency services, stating they have been poorly compensated for past stadium events. One of the mayors, William J. Roseman of Carlstadt, New Jersey, stated: "The teams don't care about budget caps and what the impacts are on the taxpayers of Carlstadt. I had to cut back my police department budget by a total of a million dollars over the last several years. While we are forced to lay off police officers, the owners of the Jets and Giants are filling their pockets at taxpayers’ expense."
In a postgame news conference, Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith was being asked questions when suddenly a man jumped onto the podium, grabbed the microphone, and said "Investigate 9/11. 9/11 was perpetrated by people within our own government." Smith did not react hastily but was rather confused and continued on with answering questions from the media. The man quickly walked away and security closed in on him. The conspiracy theorist was identified as Matthew Mills, a 30-year-old from Brooklyn. Mills was arrested for trespassing.
Many girls from New York and New Jersey were kidnapped and brought to serve as prostitutes for the Super Bowl. The FBI arrested 45 pimps and rescued 25 child prostitutes.
- Referee – Terry McAulay
- Umpire – Carl Paganelli
- Head Linesman – Jim Mello
- Line Judge – Tom Symonette
- Field Judge – Scott Steenson
- Side Judge – Dave Wyant
- Back Judge – Steve Freeman
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