EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Just 12 seconds into the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos were already trailing after a bizarre, clumsy sequence. It set a record — and the tone for the game.
The Broncos' first play from scrimmage started out looking like any other for Denver. There was Peyton Manning barking out his calls, but before he could even finish, center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball, which sailed past the unprepared quarterback and into the end zone. Knowshon Moreno fell on the ball to keep Seattle from scoring a touchdown, but it was still a safety and a 2-0 lead for the Seahawks.
That would grow to 36-0 before the Broncos finally scored on the last play of the third quarter in a 43-8 loss.
It was the fastest score in Super Bowl history. The previous record was 14 seconds on Devin Hester's return of the opening kickoff for a touchdown for the Bears in 2007 — also against Manning. That time, he soon led his Colts back into the lead, and Indianapolis beat Chicago 29-17. There was no such comeback Sunday.
This was the third straight Super Bowl with a safety.
SMITH NAMED MVP: Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith returned an interception of Peyton Manning 69 yards for a touchdown and later recovered a fumble, earning Super Bowl MVP honors.
Smith is only the third linebacker in Super Bowl history to earn the award, joining Ray Lewis of Baltimore in 2001, and Chuck Howley of Dallas in 1971.
It was appropriate that a member of Seattle's league-leading "D'' would be the MVP, considering the way the Seahawks shut down Manning and Denver's record-breaking offense, forcing four turnovers and holding the Broncos scoreless until the last play of the third quarter.
Smith's pick-6 made it 22-0 late in the first half, and Seattle was on its way.
RECORD IN DEFEAT: It sounds like great news for the Broncos: Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas set Super Bowl offensive records.
All those numbers did little against the Seahawks, most coming after Seattle was firmly in control.
Manning had 34 completions and Thomas 13 catches, both records. New England's Tom Brady (against Carolina in 2004) and New Orleans' Drew Brees (against Manning's Colts in 2010) each had completed 32 passes.
The previous receptions mark was 11, shared by Cincinnati's Dan Ross (1982 against the 49ers), San Francisco's Jerry Rice (1989 against the Bengals), and New England's Deion Branch (2005 against Philadelphia), and Wes Welker (2008 against the Giants).
GOODELL GUEST: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's Super Bowl special guest got a chance to see his hometown team.
Zack Lystedt, whose head injury sparked a wave of youth concussion legislation across the country, was invited by Goodell to attend Sunday's game and watch the Seahawks play.
Lystedt, then 13, became the face of concussion awareness after he nearly died from a head injury suffered in a youth football game in 2006. Lystedt needed two emergency brain surgeries to survive.
The injury led to the Lystedt Law, first passed in the state of Washington in 2009 and copied nationwide. The Washington law keeps athletes high school age and younger from returning to the playing field without a doctor's authorization when a concussion is suspected.
Mississippi passed a youth concussion awareness law earlier this week. The National Sports Concussion Coalition said Mississippi was the last state without a youth-concussion law to set standards for medical evaluation and return to play.
Zack's father, Victor, said in a text message Sunday that the family had arrived for the game. Goodell first met Zack in October, 2010, at a brain injury event in Washington state.
HILLARY'S ANALYSIS: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn't seem to mind Seattle's Super Bowl rout of Denver.
"It's so much more fun to watch FOX when it's someone else being blitzed & sacked!" she Tweeted.
SHERMAN SHAKEN UP: Seahawks star defensive back Richard Sherman was briefly shaken up on Denver's first possession of the second half.
The talkative cornerback went down with an apparent leg injury, but jogged off the field and was back in the game quickly.
12 SECONDS TO GLORY: Seattle scored 12 seconds in to the first half and 12 seconds into the second half.
NO COLD: The game-time temperature was chilly — by Miami standards. The 49 degrees felt nothing like February in the Northeast. So much for all the concerns leading up to the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city.
TAILS NEVER FAILS: Broadway Joe was looking the part: Joe Namath, New York football royalty as MVP of the third Super Bowl for the Jets, wore a gaudy fur coat for the coin toss.
After a false start on the first attempt, the Seahawks called tails, and they were right. Seattle deferred to the second half.
OPERATIC ANTHEM: Soprano Renee Fleming hit some high notes on "land of the free" likely never heard before at a Super Bowl when she sang the national anthem. Regal in a long white cape over a black dress, Fleming finished in 2 minutes, three seconds, easily under the 2:25 for the proposition bet.
GRAND ENTRANCES: Seattle ran onto the field first, led by a soaring hawk and with linebacker Heath Farwell carrying the 12th Man flag. Denver followed a galloping horse.
SEATS FULL: Fans clearly heeded advice to leave plenty of time for their commute. Security was slow at train stations, but by 5:15 p.m., 80,000 folks had already made it in. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said it was the earliest arriving Super Bowl crowd in at least 30 years.