EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin sat out most of the season after having hip surgery. Then he suffered a concussion and was not allowed to play in the NFC championship game.
So how the Seahawks might deploy the speedy Harvin was something of a mystery going into Sunday's Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos.
Harvin made an immediate impact by carrying the ball twice for impressive gains and catching two passes in the first half. Then he put a dagger in the Broncos by returning the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown, sending the Seahawks to a 43-8 victory at MetLife Stadium.
"I was finally able to give my team something for four quarters," said Harvin, who signed a $67-million, six-year contract in the off-season.
Harvin took the kickoff and showed the breakaway ability that made him a star in college at Florida and in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings.
"We hadn't put it on film all year so we knew there was a great chance that we would catch them off-guard," he said. "Those guys pretty much cleared out the whole right side of the field.
"I think there were only two defenders over there. I just took the gap and hit it as hard as I could."
Playing the dozens
All season, the Seahawks have been inspired by their 12th Man crowd.
Sunday, all the way across the country, 12 was still Seattle's favorite number.
The game opened with a high snap to Peyton Manning resulting in a Seattle safety with 12 seconds to play — the fastest scoring play in Super Bowl history.
Seattle's first touchdown came with exactly 12 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
And Harvin opened the second half with a kick return for a touchdown that took — you guessed it — 12 seconds.
Harvin, incidentally, wears No. 11 for Seattle — although his jersey number with Minnesota was 12.
"That's what I'm talking about," said Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll. "That's the magic of 12s."
Not even close
The lopsided result Sunday ended a streak of six Super Bowls decided by six points or fewer, and 10 in a row decided by 12 points or fewer.
Seattle's Russell Wilson joins Washington's Doug Williams as the second African American quarterback to win the Super Bowl.
"That's history right there," Wilson said. "There are so many guys before me who have tried to change the game and done a great job at it. God's so good. It doesn't matter what you look like. It doesn't matter if you're black, white, Latino, Asian. It doesn't matter if you're 5-11. It doesn't matter how many people tell you no. It's the heart that you have. That's what I try to prove every day."
Safety in numbers
This was the third consecutive Super Bowl to contain a safety.
The final points of last year's Super Bowl came on an intentional safety by San Francisco. The year before that, the New York Giants' first points came when New England's Tom Brady was called for intentional grounding in the end zone.
Numbers, but no trophy
Manning finished his season with 6,387 yards passing and 60 touchdown passes. The touchdowns are a record for an extended season, but New Orleans' Drew Brees has the record for passing yards with 6,414 set in 2011.
At 62, Carroll is the second-oldest NFL coach, but he certainly doesn't act like it. He had a thin scratch under his left eye Sunday night, the result of a collision at practice.
"In Friday's practice, the kickoff team's covering the kicks, and I jumped out there to return one," he said. "Percy had had about 10 in a row, so I said, 'OK, I'll take this next one.' Derrick Coleman hit me and [safety Chris] Maragos came across and whipped me in the face. So I got hit. What the heck am I doing returning the kickoff is the question."
"No, I didn't need padding," Carroll said with a smile. "They weren't supposed to hit me. I was cheap-shotted."
Green is keen
So much for experience. Wilson topped Manning.
In Super Bowls between a starting quarterback with previous experience in the big game and one with no Super Bowl experience, the one without the experience won the last four — the previous three being Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers over Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, Brees over Manning and Eli Manning over Brady.