As he mentioned in an interview with The Daily earlier this season, former Cardinal wide receiver Doug Baldwin ‘11 decided, in large part, to sign with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent due to the influence of his close friend, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman ‘10.
On Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII, the reunion of Sherman and Baldwin in the NFL reached its pinnacle as both contributed heavily in the Seahawks’ 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos to clinch both players’ first Super Bowl title.
Continuing his torrid run throughout the playoffs, Baldwin led all Seattle receivers with five receptions for 66 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. As he has done throughout his NFL career, Baldwin made the most of every opportunity that came his way by converting every time he was targeted. In addition, all five of Baldwin’s receptions, including his touchdown catch, came on scoring drives and played crucial parts in the blowout win.
Sherman, on the other side of the ball, had a relatively quiet night statistically as he was rarely targeted by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. In particular, Sherman helped limit Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker, whom he covered for most of the game, to just one catch for 6 yards. Overall, Sherman finished with three tackles and one pass deflection before he was carted off the field after suffering an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.
The Broncos’ defeat, tied for the third-largest loss in Super Bowl history, also created one of the most intriguing storylines of the night. Current Broncos executive vice president of football operations and former Stanford and Denver quarterback John Elway ‘83 also took part in the biggest Super Bowl blowout of all time, a 55-10 slaughtering at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV. As he did in his playing career, Elway will now look to rebound from the crushing defeat and have his team prepared for success in future Super Bowls.
The Cardinal was also represented on the Broncos’ sideline in Super Bowl XLVIII by defensive tackle Sione Fua ‘11.
Apart from the Stanford alums directly involved in the grandest spectacle in American sports, several others were involved with covering the game in the media.
Football analyst, former NFL All-Pro and former Stanford safety John Lynch ‘93 provided his insights into the game during Fox’s half-time show.
Meanwhile, Stanford head coach David Shaw ‘94 appeared on the NFL Network prior to the game to discuss his relationship with Sherman and provide his thoughts on the game. In the interview, Shaw revealed that he spoke to Sherman 10 minutes after his famous post-game interview after the NFC Championship Game to offer insights regarding handling the media. Shaw also emphasized that he had no issues with Sherman’s interview. He later watched the Super Bowl in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s private box at MetLife Stadium.
Former Cardinal and current Indianapolis Colts tight end, Coby Fleener ‘12 was heavily involved in coverage for the Super Bowl as a correspondent for Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback. Fleener’s responsibilities included writing columns for the site’s blog and interviewing players on Media Day.
Newly minted Stanford football alumnus Shayne Skov also took part in the media’s Super Bowl coverage as a Spanish-language television analyst for ESPN Deportes. Following the game, Skov returned to California and continued his preparation for the NFL Combine, looking to join the strong contingent of Stanford players in the NFL, a group that continues to grow with each passing year.
Contact Vihan Lakshman at vihan ‘at’ stanford.edu.