The Seattle Seahawks have revealed that a good part of their defensive strategy at the Super Bowl came from the fact that they were able to decode Peyton Manning's hand signals on the field.
Controversial corner back Richard Sherman said that he and his fellow defenders cracked the code that the Denver Broncos quarterback was using, meaning that they knew exactly what to expect for each play.
'We knew what route concepts they liked on different downs, so we jumped all the routes. Then we figured out the hand signals for a few of the route audibles in the first half,' he said.
If true, that would explain why the Broncos had so much trouble scoring, getting their only points on the board in the third quarter.
'All we did was play situational football,' Sherman told Sports Illustrated's blog The MMQB (The Monday Morning Quarterback).
'Me, Earl (Thomas), Kam (Chancellor)... we’re not just three All-Pro players. We’re three All-Pro minds.'
Manning's hand signals are known within the league for being one of his common traits on the field, just as the call 'Omaha' is associated with the 37-year-old.
Manning is so closely associated with 'Omaha' that 15 companies pledged to donate $1,500 to charity each time that he said it during the Super Bowl.
Instead of his typical double digit mentions, he only said it twice during Sunday night's big game. (By comparison, Fox Sports reported that he said it 31 times during the AFC title game.)
In post game interviews, however, Manning and other Broncos offensive linemen explained that the noise at MetLife stadium stopped some of their verbal messages to one another.
'None of us heard the snap count,' Denver offensive lineman Manny Ramirez said.
'I thought I did and when I snapped it, I guess Peyton was actually trying to walk up to me at the time. I'm not 100 per cent sure. It's unfortunate things didn't go as planned.'
As for the hand signals, Manning is said to change them every game but this time the other team was paying very close attention early on, explaining how they were able to thwart his plans in the first quarter.
The other problem that plagued Manning was that he didn't switch up the system after realizing that it wasn't working.
'Now, if Peyton had thrown in some double moves, if he had gone out of character, we could’ve been exposed,' Sherman said.