Super Bowl MVP award surprises Seattle Seahawks' Malcolm Smith
No one was more surprised than Malcolm Smith himself when the Seattle Seahawks linebacker was awarded the most valuable player award.
The 24-year-old played an outstanding game, scoring a crucial touchdown, recovering a fumble and making five solo tackles as the Seahawks demolished the Denver Broncos 43-8, but it never crossed his mind that he might win one of the game's biggest individual awards.
"I always imagined myself making great plays but I never thought about being the MVP," he said. "I was just happy to be on the field."
Linebackers rarely win the MVP and Smith became just the third in 48 years. His crowning moment came in the second quarter when he intercepted a pass from Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and raced 69 yards downfield for a touchdown that left MetLife Stadium rocking.
His road to the top has not been easy. He played for the University of Southern California under Pete Carroll, who is now coach of the Seahawks. When he was still at university, Smith was diagnosed with the rare eating disorder achalasia, which forces him to eat slowly and digest only small amounts of food. He lost a lot of weight and his chances of making it to the big time started to look on the wane.
But after a solid start to his NFL career, which is now in its third year, Smith has established himself as a vital cog in a Seattle defence that is the best in the NFL."I played well tonight and I had a couple of opportunities. But you've seen guys [in our defence] make these plays all year and tonight was my turn."