Denver was favored to win the game by many, including the ESPN Staff.
An opening-play safety gave the Seahawks an early lead—the quickest score in Super Bowl history. It also helped someone win a lot of money, given that a Seahawks safety for the first score of the game came in at 40-to-1 odds.
Seattle's defense stunned viewers with its prowess, putting its record-breaking squad on show for the entire country to see.
Chris Clemons forced two fumbles, Kam Chancellor picked off Manning and Malcolm Smith recovered a fumble, returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown and recorded nine tackles on his way to being named the Super Bowl MVP. Smith was the first defensive player to receive the award since Dexter Jackson won it with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII against the Oakland Raiders.
The defense played better than its previous, well-warranted hype. What wasn't expected, however, was the play of wide receiver/kick returner Percy Harvin.
Harvin helped the Seahawks become just the second team since the 2000 Baltimore Ravens to have a passing touchdown, rushing touchdown, defensive touchdown, and a kickoff return for a touchdown in a game when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half to the house.
The kickoff return was also the 10th in Super Bowl history according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Harvin's speed gives the Seahawks a dynamic to its offense that not many teams in the NFL have, especially from the WR position.
Having a player like Harvin can complete an offense, which is why Seattle was able to attack the Broncos in multiple facets. The threat of Harvin in the slot or rushing on an end-around kept the Broncos from blitzing, forcing them to basically play standard zone and man coverage the entire evening.
The most important takeaway from Harvin’s incredible performance was his ability to overcome adversity.
Since coming into the league, Harvin had issues getting into a team’s immediate game plan. Brett Favre enabled the NFL to see what Harvin was capable of doing, playing a similar role as Wes Welker and Danny Amendola did from 2009-2010. Following a breakout 2011 season, he was placed on injured reserve with a severe ankle injury in 2012.
Harvin was then traded by the Minnesota Vikings to the Seattle Seahawks prior to the 2013 season, by request. At the time of the trade, Hall of Fame WR Cris Carter believed that Vikings fan should relax and realize that the Vikings were 'better off' without Harvin on the roster.
The Seahawks receiving core showed promise with the addition of Harvin. During the course of the season, however, the promise turned into disappointment.
Harvin missed all but one game of the season due to a hip injury. He tried to come back, but ended up missing the team's last five games of the regular season because of discomfort. Harvin finally made his return to the football field against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional round.
His returned was short-lived after a hit to the head. Harvin tried to return, but was eventually taken out of the game and checked for a concussion. The 25-year-old speedster sat out the NFC Championship game because of concussion-like symptoms.
His health for Super Bowl XLVIII was uncertain during the week of the NFL Pro Bowl, but was later ruled active for the game. He didn't disappoint either. He straight up balled.
Harvin will be under contract with Seattle for a few seasons. He will have an entire offseason to get healthy. What one should takeaway from this is the fact that Harvin performed incredibly with limited health. Having a player like Harvin 100 percent healthy next season could make the Seahawks offense better than they were this season.
Harvin's story of perseverance is one of many takeaways from Super Bowl XLVIII. The nation witnessed a player that drastically improves the Seahawks. A player that is fast, dominant and a multi-threat on the field. A player that shows a lot of promise going forward.