Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman received all the hype and hatred leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII for his postgame bravado after the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. He prevented 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick from throwing a potential game-winning touchdown pass that would have sent the 49ers back to the Super Bowl. After the Seahawks’ victory over the 49ers, Sherman let the world know how great he was. Such bravado from an unknown like Sherman should have been replaced by humility during a moment like this.
It didn’t matter, because Sherman had earned the wrath of may NFL fans across the country. They waited with baited breath in anticipation of Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning picking apart Sherman and the Seahawks’ defense. That would silence Sherman and reaffirm Manning’s greatness.
Overlooked in all the hoopla was Seahawks’ linebacker Malcolm Smith (above). While not a household name, astute fans remember that it was actually Smith who intercepted Kaepernick after Sherman tipped the pass. Had Smith not intercepted the pass, Kaepernick might still have led San Francisco on a game-winning touchdown drive. If that would have happened, America wouldn’t have heard of Malcolm Smith, or Richard Sherman. That’s because Seattle would have never made the Super Bowl.
I opined that an unheralded player would have to step up if Seattle were to pull off the upset. Smith was up to the challenge, returning a Manning interception 69 yards for a touchdown, as well as a fumble recovery in Seattle’s 43-8 rout of the Broncos. Smith’s performance earned himself the distinction of becoming the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLVIII.
It’s unclear if Smith will be invited onto the national talk show circuit in the aftermath of the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl title. Usually, those invitations are reserved for glamorous player positions like quarterback and wide receiver. Nevertheless, Smith will revel in the Seahawks’ championship, which wouldn’t have been possible if he didn’t intercept that pass against the 49ers. It’s moments like this that reaffirms our love of sports, and the underdog role that Smith has been afforded.