Roger Goodell is sitting in a luxury box somewhere in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. No one knows exactly where Roger is because he made a covert move to get out of view with 4:54 left in the second quarter.
Roger is warm and comfortable. He’s coatless and enjoying himself. He has just pounded his 14th beer and it’s only halftime. Below, Bruno Mars just gave way to the Red Hot Chili Peppers after only one song. The NFL’s most powerful man wasn’t impressed by Mars’ noodle arm when he threw the microphone in a fit of rage at the crowd after yelling something about being cold and missing Hawaii.
The snow begins falling like something that doesn’t look anything like a "light, wintry mix." According to the thermostat in his cozy roost, it is 10 degrees on the field. His vision beginning to suffer, he looks out into the distance, seeing three scoreboards. Squinting, he focuses on the one in the middle. Seahawks zero, Broncos zero. Both teams have combined for 65 yards of total offense. Peyton Manning has been intercepted three times and Russell Wilson has fumbled a frozen football twice. He takes a big pull from beer number 15. Down below to his left, he sees a couple of security personnel trying to lift a fan out of his $3,000 seat. The man keeps yelling something about being frozen to the chair. A couple of rows in front of the frozen man, a Broncos fan tips back his cup and watches in horror as a $15 light yellow brick falls to the ground, exploding on impact.
Roger laughs uncontrollably.
He flags down a waitress and orders another beer. She gives him a stern look and says that he has probably had enough. Bewildered, Roger flies into a fit of rage, telling her that the national media is going to have his skin after this fiasco and he can drink all the beer he wants. He threatens to fine her for cutting off a defenseless commissioner. The waitress whimpers off, apologizing to the most powerful man in the NFL.
In the Seahawks’ locker room, Percy Harvin is submerged in a tub full of hot water. The prognosis is hypothermia. He’s doubtful for the second half. Richard Sherman is standing in front of a mirror with a blow dryer in hand, trying to defrost his dreadlocks. Earl Thomas stands nearby, pointing and laughing at Sherman.
"Should have cut those dreads like I did," teases Thomas. Bruce Irvin smiles and nods in agreement.
Pete Carroll walks to the center of the room and whistles. He claps and hollers in an attempt to round up his troops around a wildly burning bonfire in the middle of the room.
"Amazing half, amazing half," begins Carroll. "Gentlemen, our program is working out there. Do you hear those 12’s? Those guys are pretty great. They’re beckoning us. They deserve this. Now gentlemen, I know it’s cold out there. This isn’t Seattle weather, is it? But we have what it takes. Russell, you have to get the ball out quicker. You were sacked six times in that half and only have 19 passing yards. Too much dillydallying around if you ask me. You fumbled the ball twice. I know you can’t feel your fingers, but we have to make it happen. Percy! Where’s Percy? Marshawn! You’re averaging a yard a carry! I know that it’s tough to run in three feet of snow, but we have to get the run game going. Boomers of Legion, do what you always do. Peyton Manning never knew what hit him! Gentlemen, it’s our time. This is what we have played for all season. We’re here and we’re not going to let a little bit of bad weather get in our way. Always compete!"
Paul McQuistan comes around a corner carrying a bag of marshmallows and a stick.
In the Broncos’ locker room, Manning furiously dials a number from the locker room phone. He has his brother's cell phone number memorized.
"Hello?" answers Eli.
"Omaha, Omaha, Omaha!" screams Peyton into the phone. "Listen here, you little pipsqueak. You said nothing about this snow stuff. Where were you on that one? Dumb! It's no wonder you threw 27 picks this year. You call this a stadium? Is this about me catching you in rings? Wait until mom hears about this."
Eli burps loudly into the phone and hangs up on his older brother.
In the middle of the third quarter, Manning throws an absolute duck, resulting in his fourth interception of the game. Turning up field and with plenty of blockers in front of him, Byron Maxwell crosses the 30-yard line, with no one left between him and the first touchdown of Super Bowl XLVIII. In one of the oddest plays in NFL history, Maxwell loses his footing and began sliding forward. He was carrying as much momentum as Clark Griswold sledding down that insane hill in Christmas Vacation. At the end of the play, Terry McAulay, the only referee still on his feet, signals for a touchdown as Maxwell crashes into the wall behind the end zone and gets knocked unconscious.
Steven Hauschka attempts the extra point, but as his foot connects with the ball, pigskin is seen flying everywhere. The frozen ball shatters into pieces, unable to withstand the impact of the kicker’s leg.
The score is 6-0.
Roger furiously downs beer number 20 as he stares soullessly at the sheet of ice covering the field. Behind him, a pack of media hounds angrily pound on the door leading into the suite, wanting answers. He’s startled when he realizes that fans beneath him have found his hiding place. Snowballs come flying at him like rapid fire and he’s not sure how much longer he can last. He’s mad at these Alaska Seahawks who have brought their terrible weather with them.
Sherman stands on the sidelines, begging backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to throw his way and test him. Jackson, looking confused, contemplates the request.
"Who are you going to cover?" asks Jackson.
"I’m covering the snow man I just built!" screams Sherman. "Look at that thing. Frosty doesn’t have anything on a kid from Compton with a dream! Now do it, Tarvaris! Test the best corner in the game!"
Jackson calls over second string center Lemuel Jeanpierre.
"Lem, hike the ball to me. Richard’s gone crazy because of this cold. He’s from Compton and isn’t used to this."
Jackson nearly slips as he completes his three-step drop. Just as he releases the ball, Bobby Wagner delivers a brutal hit from out of nowhere. Sherman dives and knocks the ball away at the last moment. Sherman’s momentum carries him through the snowman, completely destroying it. Only a carrot remains.
Erin Andrews, standing just a few feet away, sees the scene unfold. As Sherman hops up and begins celebrating, Andrews grabs him by the arm and pulls him in front of the camera.
Before she can ask a question, Sherman, his left eye frozen shut, looks right into the camera.
"That’s what happens when you test the best corner in the game! That snowman is sorry! When you come at me with a mediocre snowman like that, that’s the result you’re going to get! Stop talking about me!"
Andrews, looking terrified, asks Sherman who was talking about him.
"That sorry excuse for a snowman, Frosty," snorts Sherman, foaming at the mouth.
Andrews cuts the interview short.
With 52 seconds left in the game and no timeouts, Manning has one last shot to win the game and solidify his place as the best quarterback to ever play the game. Denver has the ball at their 20-yard line—3rd and 10. With the snow coming down at a breakneck pace, Manning can barely see his own offensive line. The white jerseys that the Seahawks are wearing completely camouflage them from his view. He calls multiple audibles anyway, confusing his own players. The snap is high and the ball hits Manning in the face mask. As he bends over to pick up the ball, he gets obliterated by defensive end Michael Bennett. Manning manages to fall on the ball at the last second as Bennett violently swings his hips in celebration of the sack. With 86 yards to pay dirt (snow), Manning crazily waves his arms at his coach, John Fox. Manning is telling Fox to get the punting team off the field, despite the fact that it is 4th and 14 with 39 seconds left and the punting team is sitting in the locker room getting warm.
Manning hard counts the snap but the Seahawks don’t bite. With 3 seconds left on the play clock, center Manny Ramirez hikes the ball. Manning sees Trindon Holliday crossing over the middle and delivers a wobbly pass. Holliday hauls it in and turns up field. One of the fastest players on the planet, the 5’5" receiver shoots up the right side of the field and begins outrunning everyone. In the distance, and unknown to Holliday, is Seahawks’ safety Kam Chancellor, who is rapidly back peddling in order to take the perfect angle on Holliday. Chancellor, who is now laughing maniacally, thanks the Broncos in his heart for wearing orange jerseys. He can see Holliday clear as day.
Crossing the Seahawks’ 15-yard line, Chancellor channels Alvin Mack from The Program, saying "Lights out, baby," right before he delivers one of the most bone-crushing hits of his career. Holliday’s helmet and the ball shoot into the air. Chancellor picks the ball up and returns it 40 yards before being pushed out of bounds by Manning.
Wilson kneels on the ball once and the Seahawks have won their first Super Bowl title. The Broncos were called for 12 men on the field when Holliday emerges from the ground under five feet of snow, not knowing who or where he is. Carroll declines the penalty. The celebration has been a long time coming. Wilson smelled the beer on Roger’s breath, but said nothing of it. Maxwell was named the Super Bowl MVP and the video of his touchdown slide had already gone viral. Roger refused to congratulate the thugs from Seattle, but did promise that a Super Bowl would never be played in a cold weathered city again.
Wilson ends his interviews with "Go Hawks!" as icicles hang from curly locks of black hair.
Back home, the 12th Man rejoices.