Super Bowl blowout a pity for Peyton

On the sideline, Broncos coaches immediately sat Thomas down, showed him the pictures and explained what he'd done wrong.

On the second interception, Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril knocked Manning's arm as he threw the ball. Linebacker Malcolm Smith made the interception and ran 69 yards for a touchdown that put Seattle up 22-0 with less than four minutes to play in the first half.

And with that, it was basically over.

After the game, Manning's father, Archie, and older brother, Cooper, spoke briefly with Peyton, who then showered, dressed and walked to a hallway to see his wife.

He then walked to his postgame news conference, answered a battery of questions, went back to the locker room for another quick chat with his wife and then walked -- flanked by a state trooper -- down a long hallway, around a corner and out of sight.

On the night of perhaps his biggest career disappointment -- a word he used over and over and over -- Manning took no time to wallow, no time to sulk.

"I don't know if you ever get over it," he said.

Elway would know. He was the Broncos' quarterback in Super Bowl XXIV, when Denver lost to the San Francisco 49ers 55-10 in a game that, much like Sunday's, was never close.

Asked what he would tell Manning, Elway said: "Well, I just -- it was one of those nights. You've got to [give the Seahawks] them credit on the defensive side. We just can't make the mistakes that we made, especially against a good football team. You're not going to beat a really good football team turning it over four times and not getting any turnovers.

"He had a great year. Hopefully, we'll learn from this, and we're going to go at it again next year."

Next year. It is always next year. Manning could have made next year into the easiest season of his life. It could have simply been gravy on a stellar career.

Now, it means more than ever. He probably won't, but if Manning needed a little time to wallow in the loss, no one would blame him. He lost more than a football game. Manning lost a huge opportunity to end a conversation that has hounded him for much of his career.

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