EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Seattle Seahawks' mantra all season was to make each day a championship day.
They made Super Bowl Sunday the best day of all with one of the greatest performances in an NFL title game -- sparked by a defense that ranks among the best ever.
Seattle (16-3) was too quick, too physical and just too good for Denver, and that was true in all areas. What was hyped as a classic matchup between an unstoppable offense and a miserly defense turned into a rout.
"We been relentless all season," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "Having that mentality of having a championship day every day. At the end of the day, you want to play your best football, and that is what we did today."
Smith was the game's MVP, the first defender in 11 years to win the award.
When the Seahawks, up by 29 points, forced a Denver punt early in the third quarter, the 12th Man -- and there were legions of them in MetLife Stadium -- began chanting "L-O-B, L-O-B."
As in Legion of Boom, the Seahawks' hard-hitting secondary, part of a young team with an average age of 26 years, 138 days.
"This is an amazing team. Took us four years to get to this point but they never have taken a step sideways," coach Pete Carroll said. "These guys would not take anything but winning this ballgame."
"Certainly to finish this way is very disappointing," he said.
Seattle forced four turnovers; Denver had 26 all season.
"I hope we etched out names in the history books," Sherman said.
Wilson, who has an NFL-record 28 wins in his first two pro seasons, including playoffs, had a 23-yard TD pass to Jermaine Kearse late in the third quarter to make it 36-0.
"It's all about making history," All-Pro safety Earl Thomas said. "This was a dominant performance from top to bottom."
Denver fell to 2-5 in Super Bowls, and by the end many of Manning's passes resembled the "ducks" Sherman said the All-Pro quarterback sometimes threw.
No Super Bowl had been played outdoors in a cold-weather city before -- not that the Big Apple was anything close to frozen Sunday, with a 49-degree temperature at kickoff.
Things went sour for Manning and the Broncos from the very first scrimmage play, and by halftime they were down 22-0 -- their biggest deficit of the season and the only time they didn't score in a half.
That one ended much better for Manning as Indianapolis won the championship. This one was a fiasco throughout.
Manning's third-down pass to Julius Thomas sailed way too high and directly to safety Kam Chancellor, giving the Seahawks the ball at Denver's 37. Harvin, finally healthy after a virtually wasted first season in Seattle, sparked the short drive with a 15-yard burst, and a third-down pass interference call on Tony Carter gave Seattle the ball at the 1.
Then Smith, with a play emblematic of the best defense that the NFL has seen in years, made his second huge play in two weeks.
Cliff Avril got to Manning's arm as he was throwing and the ball fluttered directly to Smith, who took off down the left sideline for a 69-yard interception TD.
Manning trudged to the sideline, a look of disgust on his face.
That look didn't improve when, after a drive to the Seattle 19, his fourth-down pass was tipped by Chris Clemons and fell harmlessly to the Meadowlands turf.
So did Denver's reputation as an unstoppable force.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press