Going into Super Bowl XLVIII, most would have thought that come the end of the game, we’d have a clear consensus as to who deserved to be crowned with the MVP award. Guys like Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin and maybe even DeMaryius Thomas would have crossed your mind.
But, as the game came to a close Sunday night, it wasn’t necessarily clear. But, they got it right when Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith was handed the 2014 Super Bowl MVP. Why was Smith given the honors?
He made the play of the game, if you ask me — the play in which momentum shifted to an entirely new level for the Seahawks.
With the Denver Broncos threatening to make it a one-score game just over the three-minute mark in the second quarter, Smith picked off a Manning pass and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown. The Seahawks would receive the kickoff after halftime, thus instead of entering the break up 15-7, they went up 22-0 with the chance to add to it immediately after Bruno Mars rocked it out — and that’s exactly what they did, thanks to Percy Harvin.
It’s not like the Seahawks didn’t have the momentum at the time, but one can’t help but wonder how the game would have shaken out had Manning and company gotten into the end zone before the half, closing the gap to within one score. Seattle was given a convincing lead heading into halftime, up by 22 after Smith’s phenomenal interception return.
The play took every ounce of hope out of the Broncos at the time, I’m sure, leaving it up to coach John Fox to give them a bit of motivation with his halftime speech. Obviously, that didn’t work all too well and Smith’s monumental defensive performance late in the first half was a huge reason why the game turned out the way it did.