Before the kickoff of Super Bowl XLVIII, Denver Broncos fans gathered at hotspots around the Four Corners and geared up for what they hoped would be a memorable experience.
Four hours later, those same fans were disappointed, hopeful that they can forget the surprisingly one-sided 43-8 victory by the Seattle Seahawks.
“This just makes me sick,” said Broncos fan Hannah Vandevoorde, of Cortez.
Setting the tone for what turned out to be the most lopsided Super Bowl since 1993, was Broncos center Manny Ramirez, who sent the game’s first snap into the Broncos snap into the end zone for a safety.
Not long after, the Seahawks added two field goals to their early game total, extending their lead to 8-0 entering the second quarter.
From then on, the top-ranked Seahawks defense took control, battering Broncos players with several hard hits and forcing two Peyton Manning interceptions during a second quarter that ended with the Seahawks leading 22-0.
“I thought that (Seattle) was just a lot more physical and had a lot more speed,” said Cortez resident and longtime M-CHS coach Bob Archibeque. “I saw two groups of players out there, and one was getting physically abused.”
Already in trouble to begin the second half, the Broncos fell further behind to begin the third quarter, yieldling an 87-yard kickoff return to explosive Seahawks’ kick returner Percy Harvin.
With the Seahawks ahead 29-0 at that point, some local fans, staked out at Blondie’s Trophy Room decided to call it a night. Several diehards remained on hand however, sipping on drinks and lamenting the team’s disappointing performance.
Although the Broncos managed to score on the last play of the third quarter when Payton Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas on a 14-yard touchdown pass, the late touchdown proved to be too little too late as the score favored Seahawks 36-8 entering the fourth quarter.
As if to put a stamp on their steller season, the Seahawks extended their lead to 43-8 midway through the fourth quarter on a 10-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin.
At that point, disappointed Broncos’ fans could only sit back and watch as their once-proud team played out the season’s final minutes.
“The way I look at it, they were beat from the first whistle,” said Dove Creek High School football coach Shane Baughman. “It was an embarrassing deal for me.”
While countless local fans shared Baughman’s sentiments, many remained hopeful that the Broncos, armed with Peyton Manning and an array of offensive weapons, could return to the big game next year.
“I think they’re going to make changes,” said Archibeque. “We’ll see.”
For the time being however, fans of the blue and orange will lick their wounds and enter a long offseason wondering what happened and yearning for what might have been.