EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Pete Carroll stood in the center of the locker room and gathered his Seattle Seahawks around him.
They were Super Bowl champions, and they had the Lombardi Trophy after routing the Denver Broncos 43-8 on Sunday night.
After a rah-rah speech and Carroll shouting out some players’ names, the entire team joined in a chant: “We all we got! We all we need! We all we got! We all we need!”
And that could be the case for a while for these Seahawks, who could be a force to be reckoned with next season and beyond.
“Obviously, we feel like we have a very strong foundation and we’re very excited about our future,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said. “We talk about being a consistent championship-caliber football team and for our fans, that means you have hope every year that your team is going to be in it.”
The Seahawks (16-3) have their first Super Bowl victory, and there’s reason to think they might at least contend for a few more. They’re young and built around a dynamic quarterback in Russell Wilson, who has a ring in his second season, and a stingy defense that ranks as the league’s best.
Wide receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are free agents this offseason, but Seattle has most of its main playmakers on both sides of the ball under contract through at least next season.
“Once I get success like this, I want more success,” safety Earl Thomas said. “It’s just a great feeling. When you’re at the top, you just want to stay at the top because everybody is gunning for you.”
Peyton Manning and the Broncos certainly know the feeling. After the high-scoring offense set records this season, it fizzled against the Seahawks.
“We needed to play really well in order to win, and we didn’t come anywhere close to that,” Manning said. “We weren’t sharp offensively from the very get-go.”
Manning, who turns 38 next month, won’t have many more opportunities to win a second Super Bowl. The Broncos also have several key players scheduled to be free agents, such as Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker, so the window for Denver as a franchise might be closing quickly.
“We just didn’t play like we’re capable of,” said John Elway, the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations. “I was disappointed. Hopefully we’ll learn from this. It started tough. We just couldn’t seem to get it going.”
Here five other things to know from the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory over the Broncos:
MISERABLE MANNING: This was easily Manning’s worst day of the season.
He was sacked for the first time in the playoffs, threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, lost a fumble and turned it over on downs. There was talk all week about how Manning threw “ducks” — and he had a few more of those wobbly passes in this game despite setting a Super Bowl record with 34 completions.
It was an ominous sign when Manny Ramirez’s snap sailed over his head on the first play from scrimmage — that turned into a safety and a 2-0 lead for Seattle just 12 seconds in for the fastest score in Super Bowl history.
“The turnover on the first play of the game to give them a safety is not the way you want to start a game,” Manning said. “For whatever reason, we couldn’t get much going after that.”
LEGION OF BOOM: Seattle’s stingy defense played as advertised.
Richard Sherman & Co. controlled this game from the start, causing four turnovers and making the Broncos’ record-setting offense look uncomfortable and merely ordinary.
Malcolm Smith was selected the game’s MVP after he returned an interception of Manning 69 yards for a touchdown in the first half, then recovered a fumble in the second half.
“You can never expect it, but I wasn’t really shocked. I expected us to stand up,” Sherman said. “I didn’t expect us to give up a whole lot of points. It’s not our standard to give up a whole lot of points. We haven’t done it all year. We knew we would play sound football.”
SUDDEN IMPACT: It took until the Super Bowl, but Percy Harvin finally played a full game healthy.
And, boy, did he make up for lost time.
After missing most of the season with injuries and the NFC championship game with a concussion, Harvin had two runs for 45 yards, and opened the second half with an 87-yard kickoff return for a score to give Seattle a 29-0 lead 12 seconds into the third quarter.
“It’s just a big horse off my back,” a smiling Harvin said. “I finally was able to give my team something for four quarters.”
WINNING WILSON: Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Kurt Warner have some company.
Wilson joined them as the only quarterbacks to win Super Bowl titles within their first two seasons. He completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another 26 yards.
“He’s a baller,” Tate said.
Wilson had three offensive possessions in the first half and led Seattle to points on all three. Seattle punted only one time in the game and did all that with Marshawn Lynch running for only 39 yards.
WHAT WEATHER WORRIES? The first outdoor Super Bowl at a cold-weather site turned out to be unseasonably warm.
The National Weather Service said that temperatures were 10 to 15 degrees above normal, and the 49-degree temperature at kickoff made it only the third-coldest Super Bowl. Many feared that snow, ice and frigid temperatures would detract from the game usually held in either warm-weather cities or in a domed stadium.
It all proved to be unfounded — at least by a day. Snow was forecast for Monday morning