Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 2/8/14
Talk About Splitting Hairs Pardon my petulance, but did anyone else find the selection of Malcolm Smith for Super Bowl MVP a bit odd? I mean, never mind the fact that Smith is a backup outside-linebacker; holding that against him just wouldn’t be fair. That said, I have to wonder just how important Smith could have been to the Seattle Seahawks defensive effort having played in less than half of the teams defensive snaps. Those must have been some really important snaps, am I right? Maybe a ton of third-down duties? Now that said, I can to some extent come to terms with the fact that this is a three-dimensional world we live in, as opposed to two, and try to be reserved in my use of stats in adjudicating his legitimacy as the Super Bowl’s MVP. The argument could of course be made that Smith’s pick-six, with little over three minutes left in the first half, was the final nail in the Denver Broncos Super Bowl coffin, and that’s entirely reasonable. It was surely a backbreaking blow to the hopes and morale of the Bronco’s offense. But was it REALLY that devastating a blow? And was he really the key cog in making that play happen? There was a lot more luck in that play – on the part of Smith – then there was on Kam Chancellor‘s interception earlier in the half. Quite frankly Smith would have been beaten in coverage by Manning’s toss to Knowshon Moreno, had the ball not been tipped at the line to him. And from there, a whole lot of empty field at his disposal. And this is the play that in effect decided he was MVP? It must be, because quite frankly I can’t remember him doing much else on the day. Your the MVP in my heart, Kam. Maybe his status as the underdog who could played a larger part in the decision to name him MVP than anyone cares to acknowledge. As I pointed out in my statistical recap of the Super Bowl earlier this week, Smith is a seventh-round pick that came out of college a running back. Is his selection a mere tip of the hat to John Schneider, Pete Carroll and their combined unorthodox brain-trust? It’s possible. At the end of the day, a more fitting pick would have been one of either Cliff Avril or Kam Chancellor. The two of them round out the top three defensive grades for the Super Bowl from ProFootballFocus, with Avril receiving a +3.2 and Chancellor a +4.0. Was it not Chancellor who set the tone for the entire game with his shoulder-separating, deafening hit on Demaryius Thomas? And did he not have the game’s first interception? Indeed it was, and it could be argued that these types of plays from the onset of the game never let the Broncos get their footing. And as for disrupting the Broncos game-plan, how could I not acknowledge the game Cliff Avril had? If it wasn’t the best of his career, it was surely his best effort as a Seahawk. Avril finished the game with just the one sack, but was credited with five pressures on the QB and a batted down pass. Now that’s something. But why limit myself to just defensive options? Percy Harvin, who led both teams in rushing yards, with 45 on two carries, is an equally viable option. As far as I’m concerned, it was his 87-yard kickoff return to start the second that really sealed the victory for Seattle. Not bad for someone who’d played roughly seven snaps in the playoffs before that point. Maybe I’ve just got a case of the sour grapes, but I can’t help but feel like several worthy candidates were robbed of the MVP. I mean, congratulations to Malcolm Smith. He had a great game, and by no stretch of the imagination do I want to take away from his accomplishments. But as far as I’m concerned, it was an awkward pick from the start and it wouldn’t finish in an entirely dissimilar fashion. But hey, we’re still the champions right?
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