Percy Harvin saved his best for last.
Harvin, who played just six quarters for the Seattle Seahawks this season prior to Super Bowl XLVIII, was the X-Factor many hoped he would be all year in the Seahawks' 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos. Harvin made his presence felt almost immediately, and his 87-yard kickoff return at the start of the second half put the nail in the Broncos' coffin.
Seattle's acquisition of Harvin prior to the draft showed a preternatural level of foresight that not only anticipated that the team was lacking immediately, but put him in a position to be plugged in as needed without compromising the offense. The Seahawks didn't rush to find a makeshift replacement to add ballast, instead showing patience to know that when he returned from a hip injury the team would be ready. As a result we saw the team do enough offensively in the regular season and playoffs, only to use him as an x-factor, to appear in the Super Bowl and add a wrinkle. It was a move that showed trust in the entire roster, and the effect was noticeable.
The Seahawks made it a point to get Harvin involved early, putting the ball in his hands on an end around on their second play from scrimmage. Harvin showed off his elite speed, scampering for 30 yards and setting up Steven Hauschka's 31-yard field goal that put the Seahawks up 5-0.
Harvin only touched the ball three more times all game, but one of those times was the 87-yard kickoff return at the start of the second half that put the Seahawks up 29-0 and took the rest of the wind out of the Broncos' sails. For the game, Harvin had two rushes for 45 yards, one catch for five yards and the one kickoff return for 87 yards. Total it all up and the dynamic receiver finished with 137 all-purpose yards.
Considering all the injury troubles Harvin faced this season, it's quite the story that he made such an impact in the NFL's biggest game of the year. Harvin battled injuries all season after signing a six-year, $67 million deal in March, missing almost the entire regular season due to a hip injury. Harvin had surgery in August to repair a torn labrum, and he aggravated the injury after returning on Nov. 17 against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was close to putting Harvin on injured reserve prior to the postseason, but Harvin convinced Carroll he could play.
Harvin returned to face the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional round of the playoffs, but he suffered a concussion and didn't make it through the NFL's mandatory concussion protocol in time to suit up for the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.
However, Harvin delivered when it mattered most, helping the Seahawks win the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.