Mike Maniscalco

Super Bowl could cement a legacy and give birth to a dynasty

Posted February 1
Updated April 1

It is not unusual to see a No. 1 seed reach the Super Bowl, in fact since 2000 a top seed has made it to the big game 11 of 14 times. However, this Super Bowl is giving us something we have only seen once in the 2000’s. The No. 1 seeds from each the AFC and NFC opposing each other in the last game of the year.

Denver fans might not want to know that it was Peyton Manning’s Colts that were beaten by the Saints the only time the top seeds have squared off during that stretch.

If you remember, that was a good game and on paper and sure enough, that is what we have again this Sunday.

The Super Bowl used to be one of the worst games of the season, but that hasn’t been the case the last decade-plus. Call it parity due to the salary cap, it is something football fans want to see, especially if their team is out of contention.

Over the past two weeks the story lines for Super Bowl XLVIII have been hashed, covered, smothered and chunked. Yet this game isn’t about team greatness or how these two teams were clearly the best in their respective conference all season long. In fact, it seems that history will judge one player after this game.

The angle that has dominated conversation for the better part of two weeks is how this game will impact Peyton Manning’s legacy.

With due respect to Russell Wilson, the only player who will be judged on Sunday’s final score is Manning. Not too many people will judge the Seattle signal caller’s career based on this performance, at least not yet. Wilson looks like he will have many more chances to play for the Lombardi trophy.

So let’s get a few things straight about the Broncos QB:
First, it is pretty clear that Manning will (one day) retire as one of the best to ever play quarterback in NFL history.

Second, he is coming off a season where he smashed records for passing yards and touchdowns. This is just three years removed from neck surgeries that could have ended his playing days. This season alone is a defining moment in a career that has had hundreds of defining moments.

Third, he already has a Super Bowl title and MVP, so does one more win in one game really define how we will remember him? But I guess if people are questioning Tom Brady’s standing as elite, anything is possible. Of course those people are insane.

It’s an argument that will go on across sports talk radio and every bar stool in America, ‘can a player be the greatest without multiple rings?’ Of course they can, and what if Manning has a great game and the Broncos still lose? It can happen, but should that smudge what Manning’s spectacular career because he was 1-2 in the Super Bowl? How many great players have never been to one Super Bowl?

So for everyone looking into what Manning’s legacy will be after the Super Bowl, let me save you some work. Win or lose, he will go into the hall of fame as one of the best ever. That’s not a bad way to be remembered, which is after all what a legacy is.

As far as the teams are concerned, this might be Denver’s best shot to win a title, but the Seahawks look to be on the brink of something big. One of the youngest teams in the NFL, with a defense that has players under contract for a while and a quarterback that will just get better every year, this could be the beginning of the next NFL dynasty. A defense that will continue to add talent with an owner and fan base that players want to play for.

Seattle has that look, just like the best teams of the last 30 seasons. A young team that has sudden success after finding the right QB and a coach that pushes the right buttons. Seattle for NFL fans look eerily similar the 49ers of the 80’s, Cowboys of the 90’s and the Patriots in the early 2000’s. A win on Sunday could give the Seahawks the confidence to go on a run like those dynasties.

A dynasty could be born, a legacy that could be cemented for some and the two best teams in the league are squaring off to determine who will be the champ. Not a bad way to end a year.

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  • Gunnstigator Feb 3, 6:51 a.m.

    Unfortunately, this Super Bowl was not a good game, and it didn't live up to the week-long build up and hype. It does look like Seattle is poised to begin their own dynasty, and I hope Manning's legacy is put into proper perspective and not tarnished by this game. Just as QB's don't win games alone, they don't lose them alone either, and Denver's defense was pretty awful last night.

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