Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Malcolm Smith is going to Disney World!
The Seattle Seahawks linebacker is the first defensive player to earn Super Bowl MVP honors since Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dexter Jackson in 2003. His team beat the Denver Broncos 43-8. "It's unbelievable,'' Smith said after winning Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. "I'm in shock. We expected a great fight from them. We kind of just dominated the game."
He also told ESPN, "You dream of winning the Super Bowl. But MVP? No. You put in the work and hope it's enough. But, recently, you appreciate every opportunity that comes to you."
Smith, 24, returned a second-quarter interception 69 yards for a touchdown during the football game.
"To be in the Super Bowl and dominate the game says a lot about our group. We spend a lot of time together," the 6-foot, 226-lb. athlete told reporters. "We kind of have a chip on our shoulder, a lot of guys got overlooked, a bunch of misfits, a bunch of guys who it was said wouldn't be anything.''
Smith, who previously played for the University of Southern California, was the No. 242 choice in the 2011 draft—in the seventh round, no less. The only other linebackers to be named MVPs are the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis in 2001 and the Dallas Cowboys' Chuck Howley in 1971. In total, only eight defensive players have received the honor.
"I'll definitely be able to handle the attention—not much will change,'' Smith said after defeating Peyton Manning's team. "I've been to Disneyland. But I've never been to Disney World. It'll be fun.''
Previous most valuable players include Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (2013), New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (2012) and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (2011).