The Denver Broncos’ performance in Super Bowl XLVIII was embarrassing, whether Peyton Manning agrees or not.
Manning, who turned the ball over three times in Denver’s 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, wasn’t happy with the Broncos’ unusually poor performance on Sunday night, but the NFL MVP took offense to the assessment that the loss was “embarrassing.”
“It’s not embarrassing at all. I would never use that word,” Manning said during his postgame press conference. “There’s a lot of professional football players in that locker that put in a lot of work into being here, playing in that game. … That word ‘embarrassing’ is an insulting word, to tell you the truth.”
While Manning is clearly still sensitive about the loss, “embarrassing” might not even be a harsh enough description of how the Broncos played. Manning completed 34 of 49 passes for 280 yards and a garbage-time touchdown late in the third quarter. He wasn’t the Broncos’ only problem Sunday, though, as the team failed in all three phases of the game.
Denver turned the ball over four times, including a pair of interceptions and a lost fumble from Manning, and center Manny Ramirez botched the snap on the first play of the night, which resulted in a safety and an early 2-0 Seahawks lead. The Broncos’ defense also failed to produce, allowing Russell Wilson to complete 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards with a pair of scores. Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin also put the figurative nail in the coffin at the start of the second half, returning the opening kickoff for an 87-yard touchdown to boost the lead to a commanding 29-0.
Manning might not appreciate the description, but he has to accept that the Broncos’ Super Bowl performance fits the bill. At least wide receiver Wes Welker was willing to admit so after the game.
“This was embarrassing,” Welker said. “No way I expected anything like this to happen.”