Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning was courted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2011 when he was a free agent. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images / January 19, 2014)

For the first time since the 2009 season, two No. 1 seeds are meeting in the Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos both won two home games to punch their ticket to New York, just as the top-seeded Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints did four years ago.

This guarantees that a top seed will hoist the Lombardi Trophy for just the third time since NFL realignment in 2002. The Broncos and Seahawks used to be AFC West rivals, but they have faced each other only three times since Seattle switched conferences. They met in 2002, 2006 and 2010 — Pete Carroll’s first season as coach.

When Manning was a free agent after the 2011 season, Carroll and Seahawks GM General Manager John Schneider attempted to coax him to Seattle. Unannounced, they flew to Denver in one of Seahawks owner Paul Allen’s planes but were unsuccessful in trying to arrange a meeting with Manning.