Troy Aikman called the Super Bowl last year, providing color commentary as the Seattle Seahawks whopped up on the Denver Broncos, 43-8. This year, Aikman will be at the game, but he won’t be working in the booth.
Which is better?
“It’s a great week when you are calling the game because (it’s) the crescendo of our profession to get to call a game of that magnitude,” the Hall of Fame quarterback and three-time Super Bowl champion said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “But there’s a lot of preparation that goes into that. There’s a lot of stress that goes into that. So I enjoy it when we do it, (but) I’m glad we don’t do it every year. It’s every third year, which gives me a chance to enjoy these other weeks.”
Last year at this time, people were calling Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback to ever put on pads – before the Super Bowl was even played. If the Broncos were to win, the pundits reasoned, Manning would have led two different franchises to a Super Bowl title, including one in his age-37 season.
Well, Seattle nipped all that talk in the bud quick. Real quick.
Aikman knew the Broncos were in trouble on the first play of the game, as a snap went past Manning and into the end zone. Knowshon Moreno recovered the ball but was tackled for a safety.
Just like that, it was 2-0, Seattle.
“I think (that was) very telling at a very early stage in the game,” Aikman said. “You never see that from this offense, from the Broncos’ offense and Manning. And to have it happen at that stage in that game was really surprising. And then it didn’t get any better.”
Seattle led 22-0 at halftime, the last seven points coming courtesy of a 69-yard pick-six by Malcolm Smith, who was named Super Bowl MVP.
“I know when we went in at halftime, Seattle had dominated the game,” Aikman said. “And then I said to Joe Buck, ‘I think this is the greatest thing that could have happened to us because Peyton’s going to get it going. They’re going to get this offense going, and we’re going to have a great finish.’”
Instead, Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown to make it 29-0.
“We went to the commercial and I told Joe, ‘This game is over,’” Aikman said, laughing. “I said, ‘We’re done. We’re going to have to come up with some stuff to fill the air.’”
Needless to say, Aikman remembers quite vividly just how dangerous and devastating Seattle’s defense was – and is. In fact, he sees a lot of similarities between the game this year and the game last year. Seattle is a carbon copy of itself, and the Patriots – like the Broncos – have an explosive, dynamic offense and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer under center.
Still, Aikman doesn’t foresee a 35-point blowout in this one.
“Clearly, no one would go into this game thinking that it’s going to be a repeat of what happened last year,” Aikman said. “I think it’s going to be a great game. I’m looking forward to it.”