Seahawks rout raises Manning doubts
9:35am Monday 3rd February 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Head coach John Fox was on hand to console his quarterback Peyton Manning after the Denver Broncos fell to a humiliating 43-8 loss in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Manning collected the NFL MVP award for the fifth time in his career on Saturday having led the best offence of all-time over the season.
However, he and Denver came up well short in the finale at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium as Seattle stormed to a comprehensive victory.
Asked what he said to Manning after the game, Fox responded: "I told him he had a great season, a record-breaking season and he just came up a little short."
The nature of the defeat is sure to raise further questions over Manning's legacy.
Despite putting up astounding numbers in the regular-season, this defeat leaves the quarterback's play-off record at 11-12 and his Super Bowl mark 1-2.
Speaking about the game, Manning said: "It's disappointing for our entire team. We worked hard to get to this point and overcame a lot of obstacles to be here.
"It is really good to have this opportunity but certainly to finish this way is very disappointing. It is not an easy pill to swallow but, eventually, you have to."
Asked whether the loss will serve as motivation for next year, Manning responded: "I think it will for our entire team.
"I think this team used last year's play-off loss to fuel us. I thought it made us a better team this year.
"Hopefully we can use this to fuel us this off-season into next season as well."
The tone was set in the very first play of the game, when centre Manny Ramirez released the snap amid Manning making alterations at the line of scrimmage.
The ball flew into the end zone for a safety, handing Seattle the fastest score in Super Bowl history after just 12 seconds.
"The first play was a cadence issue," revealed Manning. "We were using the snap count on the play and, due to the noise, no one could hear me.
"Really it's...nobody's fault."
While the night ended in obvious disappointment for Manning, opposite number Russell Wilson could bask in becoming only the fourth quarterback to win a championship within his first two seasons.
"It feels unbelievable," he said. "I'm just so thankful, so thankful for everything I've been given."
The outstanding Wilson's future appears bright but, for now, it is a Seattle defence led by the self-styled 'Legion of Boom' that will rightly earn the plaudits after a suffocating display.
Their performance in holding such a prolific offence to just eight points will go down in legend.
When quizzed on whether the display puts Seattle's defence up there with the best of all time, cornerback Richard Sherman said: "Our resume speaks for itself. We just won 43-8 versus the number one offence in NFL history. That's got to have value."
For once, though, it was not a member of the Legion that stole the show, with linebacker Malcolm Smith - who took a Manning interception to the house and recovered a fumble - earning the MVP award.
"I always imagined myself making plays but never thought about being an MVP," he admitted.
Head coach Pete Carroll felt Smith embodied a perfect team performance.
"It's just the way we play," he said. "It was a really good game for our guys on all sides, not just defensively.
"I'm proud of this entire team for what we were able to do all season long and especially here today."