"It's all about making history,'' All-Pro safety Earl Thomas said. "This was a dominant performance from top to bottom.''
Denver fell to 2-5 in Super Bowls, and by the end many of Manning's passes resembled the "ducks'' Sherman said the All-Pro quarterback sometimes threw.
The victory was particularly sweet for Carroll, who was fired in 1994 by the Jets, led the Patriots for three seasons and again was canned. After a short stint out of coaching, he took over at Southern California and won two national titles.
But he always felt there was unfinished business in the NFL. Carroll finished that business by lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy, four years after taking charge in Seattle and eight years after the Seahawks lost in their only previous Super Bowl to Pittsburgh.
No Super Bowl had been played outdoors in a cold-weather city before - not that the Big Apple was anything close to frozen Sunday, with a 49-degree temperature at kickoff.
Things went sour for Manning and the Broncos from the very first scrimmage play, and by halftime they were down 22-0 - their biggest deficit of the season and the only time they didn't score in a half.
On that first play for the Broncos, Manning stepped up toward the line just as center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball. It flew past his incredulous quarterback into the end zone, where Knowshon Moreno dived on it for a safety.
A mere 12 seconds in, Seattle led 2-0 with the quickest score in Super Bowl history, beating Chicago's Devin Hester's kickoff return to open the 2007 game - against Manning's Colts.
That one ended much better for Manning as Indianapolis won the championship. This one was a fiasco throughout.
Steven Hauschka, who missed only 2 of 40 field goals entering the game, made a 31-yarder for 5-0 and a 33-yarder for 8-0 after Doug Baldwin toasted 15-year veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, in his first Super Bowl, for 37 yards on third down.
Then the Seahawks began scoring touchdowns.
Manning's third-down pass to Julius Thomas sailed way too high and directly to safety Kam Chancellor, giving the Seahawks the ball at Denver's 37. Harvin, finally healthy after a virtually wasted first season in Seattle, sparked the short drive with a 15-yard burst, and a third-down pass interference call on Tony Carter gave Seattle the ball at the 1.
Marshawn Lynch scored to make it 15-0.
Then Smith, with a play emblematic of the best defense the NFL has seen in years, made his second huge play in two weeks.
Cliff Avril got to Manning's arm as he was throwing, the ball fluttered directly to Smith, who took off down the left sideline for a 69-yard interception TD.
Manning trudged to the sideline, a look of disgust on his face.
That look didn't improve when, after a drive to the Seattle 19, his fourth-down pass was tipped by Chris Clemons and fell harmlessly to the Meadowlands turf.
So did Denver's reputation as an unstoppable force.