The Sporting Life: Notes about Super Bowl 48

The Seattle Seahawks thoroughly dominated the Denver Broncos 43-8 in last Sunday’s big game. It would likely have been a complete shutout if a 20 yard pass interference penalty against Seattle’s Byron Maxwell hadn’t given the Broncos new life on 3rd and 9 from their own 21 yard line late in the 3rd quarter, and the Seahawk defense essentially relaxed cruising to the end of the quarter up by 36 points, as Jeremy points out in his accompanying game story, the largest “to nothing” margin in Super Bowl history.

What that well-written football sports article doesn’t do is address the historical perspective of this accomplishment. In Super Bowl 22, the first black quarterback to play in a Super Bowl, Doug Williams, led the Washington Redskins to victory over the Denver Broncos by 32 points, 42-10. That was over a quarter century ago. The Broncos were led by a mainstream drop-back quarterback many at the time considered the best in the game then (John Elway) and again this time (Peyton Manning). The fifth black quarterback to compete won by 35 points. Williams completed 18 of 29 passes then, and Wilson completed 18 of 26 this time around.

Kudos to Russell Wilson, Golden Tate, and the entire Seahawks team. They proved the time-worn adage that defense wins championships. The Broncos’ two lost fumbles and two interceptions, along with a safety and only 27 rushing yards sealed their fate as the immovable object (Seattle’s defense) stopped the irresistible force (Denver’s offense). While Tate’s three catches for 17 yards, Wilson’s three rushes for 26 yards and his 206 yards passing didn’t set records offensively, their teammates on defense shut down the high-powered opponent’s offense and brought the Lombardi trophy home for Seattle’s fabled “12th Man.”

TWO Seattle stars have roots in Nashville
Current Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, III is the son of Golden Tate, Jr., a former standout wide receiver at Tennessee State who was the 120th overall pick in the fifth-round of the 1984 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He played high school football for Pope John Paul II High School. His mom, Yolanda, is the daughter of former TSU womens basketball coach Edna Overall. His brother, Wesley, is a senior running back for Vanderbilt University.

Seattle Seahawks sensational quarterback Russell Wilson has roots in Nashville, as well. Two of his grandparents were faculty at TSU back in the 1970’s, his fraternal grandfather Harrison B. Wilson, Jr. and the elder Wilson’s second wife, Lucy. His Dad’s dad (Harrison B. Wilson, Jr.)’s mom Marguerite Ayers and legendary TSU head football coach ‘Big’ John Ayers Merritt’s mom Grace Ayers were sisters. After the elder Wilson left TSU, as President of Norfolk State University for 22 years, he led that school into prominence. Russell’s father played football and baseball at Dartmouth and was a wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers preseason squad in 1980.