EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Embarrassed was not the word for Peyton Manning.
"I'll never use that word," Manning said during his post-game news conference on Sunday night, when it was time to try explaining just what went wrong during the debacle that was Super Bowl XLVIII.
"The word 'embarrassing' is an insulting word, to tell you the truth."
Sometimes, it's a matter of perception.
The biggest insult might have been reflected by the final score.
Seattle 43, Denver 8.
What a fine time for Manning – rolling with the highest-scoring offense in NFL history – to have his worst game of the year.
With a championship on the line and more than 100 million viewers, Manning went Least Mode.
The first snap of the game whizzed past Manning as he attempted to switch the play at the line of scrimmage, and when Knowshon Moreno covered in the end zone for a safety, the Seattle Seahawks had a quick lead, two-zip, 12 seconds into the game.
You may have imagined that Manning could be involved in the fastest opening score in Super Bowl history, but not quite like that. His center, Manny Ramirez, jumped the shotgun snap.
Chalk one up for the 12th Man.
It was the noise. Ramirez couldn't hear Manning's cadence as he barked signals.
He thought he heard something and snapped the ball.
"None of us heard the snap count," Ramirez said. "I thought I did."
What an omen.
On Saturday night, it was officially revealed (finally) at a glitzy, made-for-TV NFL event, that Manning won his record fifth MVP award.
On Sunday night, he was treated like a scrub by the NFL's best defense.