EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Big-mouth cornerback Richard Sherman might still be the Seattle Seahawks’ best player on a defence loaded with them.
But after Seattle smashed Denver 43-8 to win Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday night, Sherman said it was wholly fitting that big-play linebacker Malcolm Smith was named the game’s MVP.
Smith won the Pete Rozelle Trophy, primarily for intercepting a Peyton Manning pass in the second quarter and returning it 69 yards for a game-breaking touchdown. Smith also recovered a fumble, broke up a pass and had nine tackles.
It was Smith’s fourth interception in the past five games. One capped Seattle’s victory over San Francisco in the NFC title game two weeks ago.
“I think Malcolm Smith was overshadowed last week, with all the noise with my rant and everything, all the attention it got,” Sherman said. “People lost track of Malcolm Smith making an incredible interception to seal that game. And today I think he really put his stamp on the game.
“The interception for a touchdown was a huge play, the fumble recovery, various tackles. He played a really complete game, and he’s a really complete player.”
For his part, Smith said, “I always imagined myself making great plays. Never thought about being the MVP.
“It’s just a tremendous feeling. I can’t even explain it. I’m just so happy to be with my teammates and enjoy this.”
Smith is a third-year player from Southern Cal, where he played for Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. He is just the third linebacker to be named Super Bowl MVP, after Chuck Howley (Dallas, Super Bowl V) and Ray Lewis (Baltimore, Super Bowl XXXV).
Asked if winning this award might change his life, Smith said, “I hope not much. I just want to play football … I don’t expect too much to change.”