Super Bowl XLVIII didn't quite go as expected, as the Seattle Seahawks were able to deliver a devastating defeat to the Denver Broncos by a score of 43-8. This is not saying that Seattle was not expected to win; rather, many experts thought the game would be much more competitive.
So, what did players and coaches lose or gain when the dust settled? After all, there were many high-profile players involved in the big game—players who could see their legacies tarnished with the bad loss and others who could become legends in their own right with the convincing win.
Let's take a look at where certain legacies stand now that the Super Bowl ended with such a lopsided score.
Does the loss affect your opinion of Manning?
Peyton Manning had one of the greatest regular seasons by an NFL quarterback in the league's history. Setting records for most passing yards and most passing touchdowns in a season, leading the NFL's highest-scoring offense and finishing with a 13-3 record were just some of his accomplishments.
However, a nervous-looking Manning was only able to tally a 73.5 passer rating—the second lowest of his season—during the Super Bowl by completing 34 of 49 passes for 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also lost a fumble late in the game.
I'm disappointed for our entire team. We worked hard to get to this point. Overcame a lot of obstacles. Put in a lot of hard work just to have this opportunity. But to finish this way, it certainly is disappointing. It's a bitter pill to swallow.
The win was supposed to cap off Manning's legacy. Many experts expected him to take the Lombardi Trophy and possibly ride off into the sunset, completing an illustrious career in appropriate fashion.
That didn't happen, and he instead broke another, less-desired record as NFL AM pointed out on Twitter:
Peyton Manning is now 11-12 in the postseason. Peyton now has the most playoff losses by a QB, breaking a tie with Brett Favre.— NFL AM (@NFL_AM) February 3, 2014
Although Manning was unable to obtain his second Super Bowl victory, the loss does not tarnish his legacy in any way, shape or form.
Manning has a career completion percentage of 65.5, has passed for 64,964 yards, thrown 491 touchdowns and 219 interceptions for a passer rating of 97.2.
Even after losing the Super Bowl in such disappointing fashion, the loss cannot overshadow what Manning has been able to accomplish over his 15 celebrated NFL seasons (not counting his missed 2011 campaign).
Champ Bailey has been one of the NFL's premier cornerbacks over the past 15 years. Despite having such a veteran status in the league, Super Bowl XLVIII marked the first time he was able to get to the big game.
Unfortunately for Bailey, the outcome was not what he had hoped for.
Bailey and the Broncos secondary were torched time and time again, as Russell Wilson and Co. were able to account for 206 yards and two touchdowns through the air without many blemishes.
There's no doubt Bailey likely would have wanted to end his career with a Super Bowl victory, and it appears that he is still on that same mission.
Bailey is still a sure bet for the Hall of Fame, and whether he leaves the league with a Super Bowl ring or not, he will be remembered for his 909 tackles, 52 interceptions and 203 passes defended over his illustrious career.
Not every legacy is coming to a close for Super Bowl competitors. In fact, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is just getting his underway. The 25-year-old signal-caller was able to stand tall in the pocket on the NFL's biggest stage and deliver a virtually flawless performance.
It's never comfortable when you're playing Peyton Manning. But my whole thing is stay in the attack mode. That's what I kept telling the guys. And that's why we kept scoring touchdowns and making plays, like Percy Harvin had great night tonight. Our defense was great. Special teams made so many plays it was unbelievable.
After the win, Wilson is now 28-9 over his two-year career. He now holds the record for the most wins by any quarterback over that span. How impressive has Wilson been? Forbes.com thinks that he will be the NFL's next $100 million quarterback.
He shared this tweet and message following the win:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7 NIV)— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) February 3, 2014
Watching him develop over the past two seasons, he certainly looks to be worth the price tag.
Now that Wilson has brought the first Super Bowl victory to Seattle and has finished both of his first two NFL seasons with at least a 100 passer rating, his legacy has only just begun. The sky is the limit for this immensely talented young quarterback.