The Super Bowl MVP went to one of the most unlikely of candidates, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith. Smith wasn’t even an option for Vegas gamblers to place a bet on. He was lumped in the “field” for Super Bowl MVP winners.
Malcolm Smith, 24, became the fourth youngest player to ever win the Super Bowl MVP award. And chances are, even if you watch the NFL, you may not have heard of him. A player that exemplifies what the Seahawks are all about, Smith plays with a lot of heart.
His journey to being acknowledged as the best player on the world’s greatest stage began at the University of Southern California. Pete Carroll coached him then and is now his coach again with the Seahawks. Smith was a solid linebacker in college but received very little notoriety. Not even an invite to the draft combine. But the Seahawks took a chance on him and drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 draft.
Before the 2013 season, the Super Bowl MVP had few opportunities to show what he could do on defense. He primarily played the part of special teams expert. But after several injuries occurred this season, Smith got the call. And he delivered. Besides having a spectacular season at outside linebacker, he also caught the now famous Richard Sherman pass deflection to end the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Saving his best for last, Smith earned the Super Bowl MVP trophy by returning a Peyton Manning interception 69 yards for a touchdown, putting the Seahawks up 22-0. Then in the second half, he grabbed a fumble, basically putting the game out of reach. It was his night.
Only one thing took away from the excitement of Malcolm Smith’s incredible experience. While giving his post game press conference, a Brooklyn man jumped on to the podium and began shouting into Smith’s microphone.
Matthew Mills, 30, screamed, “Investigate 9/11. 9/11 was perpetrated by people in our own government.” Everyone was visibly shocked and a little frightened. Mills was arrested for trespassing. Smith tried to make light of a potentially dangerous situation by saying, “someone check his press pass.”
Super Bowl MVP awards usually go to offensive players. In fact, only eight defensive players have ever been honored as the best in the biggest game. The last one was Dexter Jackson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003. Super Bowl XLVIII could have belonged to Percy Harvin or Russell Wilson. But the Seattle Seahawks proved on Sunday night that defense wins championships. And on a defense full of players no one believed in, no one deserved the Super Bowl MVP more than Malcolm Smith.