Florida Gators Make Huge Impact in Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII Win Over the Denver Broncos

Percy Harvin

Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin (11) celebrates with fullback Derrick Coleman (40) after returning a kick for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the third quarter in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

By now you probably know the Seattle Seahawks beat down the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII 43-8 to win their first championship on Sunday. You may not know that two former Florida Gators played a huge part in bringing Seattle their first major sports championship since the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics. Do-it-all wide receiver Percy Harvin easily could have won Super Bowl MVP and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn called an absolutely phenomenal game.

Percy Harvin was playing in only his third game of the season, but his impact couldn’t have been greater. Harvin took an end-around 30 yards, and almost the distance if not for the sideline, on Seattle’s opening drive to set the Seahawks up in Denver territory. He also ran for another 15 yards in the first quarter to have more yards in the opening quarter than the entire Broncos offense, outgaining them 45-11. But Harvin’s biggest impact came on the opening kick off for the second half. Denver kicker Matt Prater tried to kick the ball short so a return would be difficult, but it proved to be a mistake. Harvin used his speed, quickness, agility, and tackle breaking ability to take the kick off 87 yards for a touchdown that put the game basically out of reach, 29-0. His playmaking ability changed the dynamic for the Seahawks defense, allowing space for his teammates to make plays. Harvin finished with a solid stat line as the leading rusher in the game with 45 yards on 2 carries, 1 catch for 5 yards, and, of course, the 87 yard kick off return to finish with 137 total yards and a good case for Super Bowl XLVIII MVP. He even had NBA All-Star, two-time NCAA Champion, and Florida Gators, whose time at UF overlapped with Harvin’s, buzzing on Twitter:

 

 

On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn called a dominant game, holding Denver to just about 30 points less and 140 total yards less than their season average. The defense constantly harassed Broncos QB Peyton Manning, forcing him to throw 2 interceptions and sacking him once. The defense also forced and recovered a fumble that killed any chance Denver had at coming back in the game. Manning did have 280 yards and WR Demaryius Thomas set a Super Bowl record with 13 receptions for 118 yards, but that was the only bright spot for the Broncos. Overall, Seattle’s defense held Denver’s offense to 306 total yards and, of course, only one touchdown. Quinn credited his two years at the University of Florida earlier in the week for his success and preparation for the Super Bowl. He said coaching defensively for the Gators helped him prepare for the Broncos no-huddle offense and helps him put players in position where they’ll best be utilized. Gators safety Jaylen Watkins, who played for Quinn’s defense for the two years Quinn was at Florida, took to Twitter to express his fondness for coach Quinn.

Three other Gators were part of the Super Bowl as well, but in a losing effort. Broncos defensive end Jeremy Mincey recorded four tackles, wide receiver Andre “Bubba” Caldwell played, but didn’t record a stat, and linebacker Lerentee McCray is on Denver’s injured reserve.

Seattle’s win marks the third straight year a Florida Gator has won the Super Bowl with Harvin joining former teammates Deonte Thompson and Justin Trattou in hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Harvin, Thompson, and Trattou are also three of five Florida players to win an SEC Championship, a National Championship and a Super Bowl, joining Dallas Baker and Jeff Mitchell as the only Gators to do so. Harvin’s six points in the game gives Florida 68 points scored all-time in the Super Bowl, placing Florida atop the SEC and third nationally in points scored by any school. The Gators’ future looks bright with the chance for another Florida player to win a Super Bowl next year as they currently have 34 players on 20 of the 32 teams. And with prospects like Dominique Easley, Marcus Roberson, and Loucheiz Purifoy set to get picked in the NFL Draft, look for those chances to get even greater.

For more on the Gators make sure to follow us on Twitter (@HailFloridaHail@BrettKaplan13 and @laynejweitzel).

Topics: Dan Quinn, Florida Gators, NFL, Percy Harvin

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  • Mark Landreth

    You forgot Marquand Manuel who coaches for Seattle also played for UF under SOS.

    • Brett Kaplan

      Absolutley right. Marquand was a great Gator and had a great career with the Seahawks.