Doubters silenced by Seahawks' Super Bowl win
Russell Wilson and Percy Harvin waged their own battles on way to triumph in New Jersey
Agence France-Presse in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Critics told Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson he was too short to play the position, and many predicted a hip injury would sideline Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin all season. Now both are Super Bowl champions.
Wilson threw two touchdown passes, while Harvin returned the second-half kick-off 87 yards for a touchdown as Seattle destroyed Denver 43-8 in Super Bowl 48.
Wilson, 25, was in only his second National Football League season after being a third-round draft pick, in part because he stands just under 1.8 metres.
"So many people told me I couldn't do it," Wilson said. "It's kind of surreal. I wanted to go against the odds and it's just tremendous. It feels unbelievable."
Wilson became only the second African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl after Doug Williams (Washington, 1988). "That's history right there," he said. "It doesn't matter what you look like. It doesn't matter if you are black, white, Latino, Asian. It doesn't matter how many people tell you, 'No'. It's the heart you have. That's what I try to prove every day."
Harvin made his big play after missing most of the season following hip surgery. "It's unreal. I can't even explain it," he said. "It's incredible. It means everything to me. The way this team stood behind me, backed me up all year, it means a lot. They had so much belief in me even when I wasn't practising."
Wilson completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns, and together with a relentless defence that forced four turnovers, they brought Seattle a first Super Bowl title.
"Russell played great," receiver Jermaine Kearse said. "It just shows the type of leadership he has."
Wilson has had a lot to prove since his youth, when he learned lessons at a camp sponsored by Peyton Manning that he used against the Broncos' quarterback as a Super Bowl rival. "I believe in myself. My confidence was never going to waver," Wilson said. "I was going to go after it with everything I had."
Wilson's attitude summed up the cast-off feeling the unfancied Seahawks thrived upon.
The Seahawks talk of playing for the "12th Man", meaning their supporters, who are known for their loud backing. So it was an omen that they scored 12 seconds into the game and again 12 seconds into the second half - that first score came on a safety after an errant Denver snap at the start; the second came on Harvin's kick return.
"I really couldn't believe it," Harvin said. "When I broke through and I saw the end zone, I really couldn't believe it."