I've been surprised by Super Bowl results before.
I didn't think there was a chance in hell the St. Louis Rams would lose to the New England Patriots in 2002. I didn't think Baltimore would beat San Francisco a season ago. I didn't think the New York Giants would take down the New England Patriots in either of their meetings (though I thought they were perfectly built to slow down the 18-0 Pats in 2008).
But I haven't been as surprised by a Super Bowl result as I was by the Seattle Seahawks absolutely smoking the Denver Broncos, 43-8, in years.
There are so many reasons why that result was so shocking. The most prolific offense in NFL history was held to only eight points?
I didn't see that coming, though perhaps I should have—the last "most prolific offense in NFL history," the 2007 Pats, was held to 14 points by the Giants. And the 2001 "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams were held to just 17 points against Bill Belichick's New England defense.
I didn't expect the Broncos to turn the ball over four times. Or to give up a safety on the first play of the game. Or to fail to convert a 4th-and-2 late in the first half rather than take the field goal and at least get some points on the board. Or for the Seahawks to score 21 points off of turnovers, return a kick for a touchdown and register that safety.
It's not hard to win when you take advantage of those opportunities.
I didn't expect the Seahawks to so perfectly execute their game plan. They ran the ball well (135 rushing yards). They won the time-of-possession battle. They pressured Peyton Manning with their front four and held him to 280 passing yards. They took Julius Thomas completely out of the game. Ditto for Denver's running game.
The Broncos had been tough against the run in the playoffs, so you thought they'd at least slow Seattle down a bit. Nope. Manning generally finds a way to dissect an opposing defense, no matter how stout. Nope. Whatever you thought you knew about the Broncos coming into this game was dispelled by a vastly superior Seattle squad.
Afterwards, Manning said it wasn't embarrassing, as he should have said. But it sure looked embarrassing from the outside, didn't it?
Percy Harvin barely played this season, but he easily could have been the game's Most Valuable Player. Russell Wilson struggled down the stretch at times this year, but he was flawless in the Super Bowl. There wasn't a single area of the game where the Seahawks didn't dominate.
The Legion of Boom might go down as the best secondary—at least when evaluating individual seasons—in NFL history. The Seahawks' style of defense will surely be copied pretty widely around the league now.
In an age when spread offenses and passing attacks generally rule the day, the template for stopping them has now been established.
Of course, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas don't exactly grow on trees. Neither does Wilson. And Pete Carroll has done a masterful job of getting his guys to buy into the program. What happened in Seattle was special this year, and even more scary is that we very well could be seeing the beginning of a dynasty.
Of course, the NFL is full of surprises. The Seahawks will be favored to repeat as Super Bowl champions next year, but perhaps a team will shock them along the way. After this Super Bowl, nothing would surprise me.