-by Caroline MacGillivray- The Denver Broncos lost the football–and their confidence–on the very first play of Super Bowl XLVIII, and they never got it back. The Seattle Seahawks were firing on all cylinders–the “legion of boom” defense’s reign of terror was expected, but quarterback Russell Wilson’s aptitude in the big moments was not. Linebacker Malcolm Smith ran a remarkable interception 69 yards for a touchdown. Broncos receiver Wes Welker is now 0-3 in the Super Bowl, but maybe losing with a Manning makes up for losing to a Manning (the Patriots lost the game in 2012 to the New York Giants, led by Manning’s little brother Eli.)
But win or lose, the story always revolves around the sport’s humble hero, Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning. Two interceptions, a safety, one lonely touchdown on the scoreboard–the QB on the field did not look like Peyton Manning. But Manning certainly acted like himself, walking up to loudmouth Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman after the game to ask how his injured ankle was feeling. If there is anyone to understand Manning’s pain, it is a group of high school students. Like an NFL quarterback, we high school students are used to being judged on a strict formula of statistics and results. The Super Bowl is a high-stakes exam. If you made a mistake, would it be an excuse for colleges (or in Manning’s case, the Hall of Fame) not to admit you? Absolutely not. Manning should be treated the same way. His two Super Bowl losses (number 18 has a 1-2 record in the big game) are the blemishes on the report card that every student fears will sink her future. For Peyton Manning, sixteen seasons of brilliance, including this one, say otherwise. People say that QBs like Andrew Luck (Manning’s replacement on the Colts) and Russell Wilson have arrived as the next Toms and Peytons–Time magazine even dared to refer to Brady and Manning as an “aging superstar” and an “old man,” respectively–but the originals are still holding up pretty well. Although Peyton Manning did not get to lift the Lombardi trophy this year, he was chosen as the league’s MVP for the fifth time. The vote was near unanimous–49 of 50 votes–but one journalist insisted on voting for Tom Brady, even though Brady himself had been urging people to vote for Manning. Equally telling of Manning’s character was the sign flying at Mile High Stadium during the AFC Championship game hailing him as the “Most Valuable Peyton”. So, we can conclude, Super Bowl XLVIII is hardly the end of an era–it very well may be just another chapter in one of football’s greatest stories, loved by pros and fans alike.
Image from Huffington Post