Super Bowl 2014, Seahawks vs. Broncos: Malcolm Smith an unlikely playoff hero for Seattle

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Few expected this type of performance from Malcolm Smith. Even Smith himself was surprised.

SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

Back in 2007, Malcolm Smith was having trouble breaking into the starting lineup as a freshman at USC. He played mostly on special teams duty for Pete Carroll. The same was the case in 2008. It took until Smith was a junior for him to earn significant playing time for the Trojans.

Fast forward to 2014, and Smith was one of the key reasons why Carroll was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII. Smith returned an interception for a touchdown, recovered a fumble and earned the Super Bowl MVP in the process.

Smith joined Chuck Howley of the Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis as the only other linebackers to ever with the Super Bowl MVP. Oddly enough, Howley's came in a loss, the only player ever to win the award in defeat.

Smith, a seventh-round pick of the Seahawks back in the 2011 NFL Draft, endeared himself to Carroll long ago at USC. It was enough for Carroll to take a chance on him in 2011, and it turned out to be one of the best things to happen to the Seahawks.

First, Smith sealed the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers by intercepting the pass that Richard Sherman tipped away from Michael Crabtree. Then he became the Super Bowl MVP after a heroic performance at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Up until Week 15, Smith wasn't even starting for the Seahawks. He replaced K.J. Wright in the starting lineup after Wright suffered a foot injury. He became the face of a dominant defensive effort from Seattle.

In his three-year career, Smith has only 92 tackles to his credit but now is a household name throughout America after shining on the biggest stage.

SB Nation's Super Bowl coverage

Seahawks dominate Broncos in Super blowout, 43-8

MANNINGFACE: Peyton Manning Super Bowl mood chart | #Lookit

2014 NFL Power Rankings: We believe in Philly (but not Denver)

See the Super Bowl commercials again | Watch the mini-Seinfeld reunion

Bruno Mars, Chili Peppers deliver | Ranking every halftime show ever

Jon Bois' crazy Breaking Madden Super Bowl basically came true

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.