John Elway has become all too familiar with this type of result in the Super Bowl. As a player, Elway was on the losing end of three lopsided decisions in the NFL's title game. As the team's director of football operations, he witnessed another one Sunday night, as the Broncos were demolished by the Seahawks, 43-8, in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.
"We just didn't play like we were capable of," Elway said. "Hopefully, we'll learn from this. It started tough. We just couldn't seem to get it going."
The Broncos' nightmare started on their first play from scrimmage, as center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over Peyton Manning's head and into the end zone. Running back Knowshon Moreno recovered, but the Seahawks had a safety.
Manning later threw two first-half interceptions that were converted into touchdowns by Seattle's offense.
"If you turn it over that many times, especially in this game to a good football team, which you know you're going to play in this game, it's hard to do," Elway said. "But that's where you have to give the Seahawks a lot of credit. They played really well."
Seattle continued to pour it on in the second half, as Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and a 29-0 lead. Asked if he felt momentum was a factor because of the plays at the start of each half, Elway said, "Yeah. I don't have all the answers, but I've got to imagine that had something to do with it. We just couldn't get into the end zone or really get it going. We had some opportunities to get back in the game and we just couldn't seem to."
In the end, Elway said it was turnovers -- Manning had two interceptions and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had a fumble -- that keyed the loss.
"We can't turn the ball over in this game," he said. "When you turn the ball over and you get way down, you're playing right into their hands, because they've got a great pass rush and they cover the pass. So we kind of played into their hands by turning the ball over."
Did this game remind Elway of his losses as a player?
"No. Those are separate," he said.
Overall, Elway expressed pride in his players.
"It was a great year," he said. "It's always disappointing. Only one team is happy at the end of the year, and you've got to give them credit. They played well. They took advantage of mistakes. [But] I'm proud of these [Broncos players]."
Elway's three Super Bowl losses came before he closed out his career with back-to-back Super Bowl titles. He lost to the Giants, 39-20, in Super Bowl XXI, then lost to the Redskins, 42-10, in Super Bowl XXII and to the 49ers, 55-10, in Super Bowl XXIV. Elway's Broncos then beat the Packers, 31-24, in Super Bowl XXXII and the Falcons, 34-19, in Super Bowl XXXIII -- his final game.