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Super Bowl XLVIII, 10 Years Later: 'Whenever You Think About The Seattle Seahawks, You're Going To Think About This Team'

On the 10th anniversary of Super Bowl XLVIII, relive the Seahawks dominant victory through the words of those who made it happen.

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

In the days leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII, Seahawks players understood what was at stake in their upcoming showdown with the Denver Broncos.

Yes, there was the obvious goal of winning the first Super Bowl title in franchise history, and there was of course the intriguing matchup not just of the league's No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense, but two historically great units. Led by 2013 MVP Peyton Manning, the Broncos had the highest-scoring offense in NFL history, while the Seahawks led the NFL in total defense, scoring defense, pass defense and takeaways, part of a historic run in which they became the only team in the Super Bowl era to lead the league in scoring defense for four straight seasons.

But on top of all of that, the Seahawks knew they were playing for a city hungry for success. Yes, the Seahawks had shown a lot of promise in reaching the divisional round the previous season, but before 2012 they had posted losing records for four straight years, although one of those came with a playoff berth at 7-9. The Mariners, meanwhile, were more than a decade removed from their last playoff berth, and had finished with losing records in eight of their previous 10 seasons; for fans of college football, the Cougars and Huskies were both rebuilding after hitting historic lows in 2008; and of course, Seattle was only five years removed from losing their beloved Sonics. Even the Storm, arguably the city's most consistent winner since their inception, were a combined two games under .500 over their past two seasons.

In other words, Seattle was a city aching for sports success, and the young, brash Seahawks, fresh off a 13-3 season and a thrilling NFC championship game win over the 49ers, arrived in New Jersey well aware of what a win would mean to their fans.

"They've been thirsty for a trophy, for a championship in the city," receiver Doug Baldwin said days before the game. "They've been through some dark times. It's going to be an exciting moment. To enjoy this opportunity not only with my teammates and my family, but with the city of Seattle, it's going to be something special for us."

Said defensive end Chris Clemons, "I want to see what that parade is going to look like."

With the 10th anniversary of Super Bowl XLVIII upon us, we're taking a look back at the Seahawks' dominant 43-8 win over the Broncos through the words of the players, recorded in the moments after the game in postgame press conferences and locker room interviews.


Linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith: "We feel like we play with a level of intensity that other teams have to match. We liked this matchup, we felt good coming into this game. We felt like they would have to deal with us."

The Seahawks jumped to a quick 5-0 lead thanks to a Broncos safety on the first play from scrimmage and a subsequent Stephen Hauschka field goal, but the tone was really set early in Denver's second possession.

After opening the drive with a short run, the Broncos turned to their vaunted passing game, with Manning throwing a short pass to Demaryius Thomas, who made the catch, but was immediately blasted by Kam Chancellor, sending Thomas flying back several yards. Denver would go three-and-out, the Seahawks would score again to extend the lead, and from that point on, it was clear the Seahawks were going to be the team imposing its will on this day.

Defensive end Michael Bennett: "He's been the best player on our defense the whole season. I think he's one of the best players in the NFL. I'm surprised he's not up for defensive player of the year… Kam is by far the most ferocious hitter in the NFL. I know if I was about to catch a ball, I'd be looking for 31."

Safety Kam Chancellor: "I definitely think it (set the tone). It just sends a message, anytime you come across that middle, you've got a chance of getting wrecked. That's the way we play on defense. We play physical. We want to instill our will, we want to be a grimy defense… I think all the hits from the defense as a group got into their heads."

Bennett, when asked if Chancellor's hit got in Broncos players' heads: "I don't want to say that, but they were tiptoeing around those slants and stuff, bro. I wouldn't want to catch a ball if Kam Chancellor was running down there. K.J. Wright, he's 6-4, 255 playing linebacker, I'd be scared to go out there and catch a ball against them."

The Seahawks led 8-0 after one quarter, then extended that lead on a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run, a score set up by a Chancellor interception, the first of takeaways for Seattle's defense. They added to that lead later in the second quarter, making it 22-0 when Malcom Smith intercepted Manning and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown, a play set up by Cliff Avrill pressuring Manning and hitting his arm as he threw.

Smith: "There was great coverage on the back end, great pressure, Cliff got to the quarterback, Peyton's arm came out high, and I was able to run under it and catch it. I got a couple good blocks and I was able to get in."

The interception return touchdown, along with a fumble recovery, helped Smith secure Super Bowl MVP honors. And while a good case can be made that Chancellor, who had nine tackles, an interception, two passes defensed and that tone-setting hit on Thomas, should have been MVP, it was also fitting that a seventh-round pick who had started only 11 games in three seasons, including eight in 2013, took home that honor on a team full of players who saw themselves as underdogs.

The Seahawks roster that season featured 21 players who came into the league as undrafted free agents, including two of their top receivers in Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, both of whom scored touchdowns in the game, and one of their best defensive linemen, Bennett. Their defense also included fifth-round picks turned stars in Richard Sherman and Chancellor, and of course, the team's quarterback, Russell Wilson, was seen as too short to succeed in the NFL, and as a result was a third-round pick despite a stellar college career.

Bennett: "We've been getting disrespected our whole lives. Our team is a whole bunch of misfits, guys that nobody wanted. Players they say couldn't play, couldn't make it… Our guys went out there and did what we always do, and we've definitely got a chip on shoulder. That chip's going to continue to be on our shoulder forever."

Baldwin on whether all the talk about Denver's offense left Seattle's offensive players feeling slighted: "Duh, of course. You can't sit there and doubt our offense, talk negatively about our offense, and expect us not to have a chip on our shoulder. That's bulletin board material, of course we felt a little bit slighted by that."

Baldwin also had some pointed and humorous words for Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, who said leading up to the game that the Seahawks receivers were appetizers, as in they lacked a main course.

Baldwin: "OK, y'all listen to me loud and clear. Y'all listening? Y'all hear me? For all y'all who called us, the receiving corps, average, pedestrian, appetizers—I'm not going to say any names, but he knows who he is—I respect what you did on the field, but stick to playing football, because your analytical skills ain't up to par yet. You need to slow down and go back and not do it half-assed and put some effort into it, because you're saying some stuff that didn't really make sense.

"That dude who said that we were appetizers, he told me to Google him, and I did Google him, but I didn't see any Super Bowl appearances, and I also saw two losses in conference championships. I have a Super Bowl ring, and I would gladly show that to him. And if he doesn't have time to come see it, tell him he can Google it."

With a 22-0 halftime lead and the league's best defense, the Seahawks were in great shape, but there was also the sense that Manning and company could still make a game of it. Only seconds into he second half, however, the route was officially on when Percy Harvin fielded a short kickoff off the bounce and sprinted 87-yards for a touchdown that felt more like the start of a celebration than the first play of the second half.

Baldwin: "The playmaking ability he has is second to none. He told me all week that he was going to do that. He had no doubt in his mind he was going to make a play, and obviously we had no doubt in him as well. I told him after halftime when we came out, I said 'I promise you, if you bust this loose, I'll meet you in the end zone. I'll beat you there.' I didn't quite beat him there."

Seattle's offense, led by a very efficient Wilson (18 for 25, 206 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions), played very well against the Broncos, but ultimately the star of the show was the defense that held the highest scoring offense in NFL history to a single touchdown, and one that came at the end of the third quarter after the Seahawks had built a 36-0 lead.

Pete Carroll: "We tried to do a little bit of everything, but mostly we played football the way we know how to play. We played our style of ball."

Chancellor: "We did exactly what we said we were going to do. We followed our format, we stayed with our standard and we finished."

Chancellor: "It says that this is a great group of guys out there playing for each other. We always say, 'Play for your brother.' We're a fundamentally sound team. We always say running and hitting, and being great tacklers, and that's one great thing we did today, being great tacklers."

Bennett: "I think our defense is one of the best defenses to ever play the game. There's so much we did this year that was so special. I don't even know how the NFL let all of us be on the same team. I mean, me, Cliff and Clem on the same team, it's just unfair."

Bennett: "It was the same exact gameplan. At the end of the day, when we've got these type of players, we don't need to change it up every week. We go out there and line up, play base defense and go out there and win."

With the defense dominating, the offense making big plays and taking care of the football, and special teams adding a touchdown, the dominant win was a complete team effort, the type of game Carroll loves most.

Carroll: "That's it, that's exactly how we try to play. We've tried to put that up pretty consistently for a lot of years now. Not just here, but for a lot years that's the way we've played football. I'm thrilled that it came out like that so clearly and so obviously that that's the way we put a mark on our Super Bowl championship."

And not only was it a complete win, it was a result that, despite the lopsided score, did not surprise Seahawks players in the least.

Bennett: "We saw this coming. We never went into a game thinking we couldn't win. We always knew that when we play the type of defense that we play, there's no offense that can play with us."

Baldwin: "To be honest with you, I think a lot of the players on this team expected it to be a dominant win. And I say that with respect for the Denver Broncos, no disrespect to them. I think coming into this game, they thought they were going to dominate as well.

"You've got to have that confidence. But the way that we prepare, the way we got ourselves mentally ready this entire week, the last two weeks, there was no doubt in our minds that we'd come out here and play Seattle Seahawks football. And you saw that, you saw us dominate defensively, you saw us push the ball on the ground, dictate the pace of the game with our ground game, then you saw us make plays in the passing game when we had our opportunities, that's what Seattle Seahawks football is all about."

Carroll in the morning-after press conference: "We were really ready, we were ready for the opportunity. We really seized the night."

Indeed, the Seahawks were ready 10 years ago on that chilly night in New Jersey, and their reward was a place in Seattle sports and NFL history, not to mention one heck of a celebration that took place in Seattle later that week.

Carroll: "I'm so humbled by the fact that we get to bring this championship back to them. It's their championship… There's no fanbase that deserves this more. Nobody has worked harder at supporting their team with passion and love and spirit than ours."

Defensive end Red Bryant: "Tonight we were able to do something that's going to live a lot longer than us. Whenever you think about the Seattle Seahawks, you're going to think about this team."

The Seattle Seahawks were crowned world champions after dominating the Denver Broncos in one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history, 43-8.