How both the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks wound up in this game started with the same player — Peyton Manning.
When Manning became the most famous free agent in NFL history two years ago, the Broncos and Seahawks both wanted him. On that rockstar free agency tour, the Seahawks reportedly had a plane waiting for Manning in Denver after he visited with the Broncos.
Manning didn't get on.
He refused to give the Seahawks a chance. Four days later, he signed a five-year, $96 million contract with the Broncos. The rest is history in Denver.
In Seattle, the future at quarterback was less clear. They settled for another free agent quarterback in Matt Flynn while drafting Russell Wilson in the third round the following month. Those two competed for the starting job, with the rookie surprisingly winning out before Week 1. Flynn has since moved on to three different teams, while Wilson has become just the sixth quarterback in NFL history to make the Super Bowl before his third season. His career passer rating of 100.6 is nine points up on Robert Griffin III and 19 points ahead of Andrew Luck, despite the fact those guys were picked second and first overall.
Seattle is the fifth-youngest team in the league with an average age of 25.7. Not a single player on their roster was born before 1980. Yet five Broncos were born in the 1970s, which is a big reason why Denver is the second-oldest team in the NFL (27.1). So naturally, the Broncos have a couple extra free agent/trade aquisitions on their roster. But the difference isn't as extreme as you'd think…
Seattle's defense was really the only unit that was built from scratch in the draft…