Sports Out West

Super Bowl 2014: Seahawks’ win shows NFC Championship should have been final

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks dominated the Denver Broncos, 43-8 and took home the Lombardi Trophy of Super Bowl XLVIII. It was an embarrassing effort for the Broncos, who committed four turnovers and scored a season low eight points. 

The result has to leave some fans in Seattle and especially the Bay Area wondering what could have been had the NFL pitted its two best teams against one another in the season finale of the country’s most powerful professional sports league. Unfortunately, when the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Seattle Seahawks, the two best teams had already played one another. 

The disparity lies beyond the final scores. In the tilt between the Niners and Hawks, one final drive and play is what separated the two division rivals from glory and defeat. With Richard Sherman‘s pass defense on the 49ers’ Michael Crabtree, the Seahawks earned the de facto Super Bowl title with a 23-17 victory.

Peyton Manning had no answers for the Seahawks dominant defense despite being able to prepare for two weeks. They pressured him to the point where he made poor, uncharacteristic throw and looked flustered in the pocket, much like Colin Kaepernick did at times in the conference championship. The difference is, though, that Kapernick and the 49ers had a defense and special teams that could keep the game within reach against a stout defense while the table was set for a Broncos’ loss when they proved they couldn’t put up the points they were accustomed to. 

Though commissioner Roger Goodell has mentioned expanding the playoffs, there has been no official word from his office on the conferences merging into one giant playoff pool to form even more parity in the NFL postseason. If the 49ers and Seahawks didn’t play in the same division, such a scenario could have found them on opposite sides of the bracket and poised for a final showdown. 

But that’s all a pipe dream, and it’s not happening any time soon. 

We only know this now with the benefit of hindsight, but the end conclusion is clear: The Seahawks are the best team in football, and the Broncos weren’t close.  

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.
  • Dan Toppins

    Sorry but the game is not played this way. There was no Super Bowl win until the Seahawks defeated the Broncos. Claiming a de facto SB title after the win against SF is for this Seahawks fan not acceptable; had the Seahawks lost to Denver would you be claiming this train of thought?