By Danny O’Neil
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The most difficult thing about Seattle’s Super Bowl victory: Picking an MVP.
That should give you an idea of just how little suspense there was regarding the outcome and how well-rounded Seattle’s effort was.
Kam Chancellor had one of the Seahawks two interceptions, plus a tone-setting hit on Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas in the first quarter of their Super Bowl win. (AP)
Percy Harvin led all players in rushing and ran a kickoff back 87 yards to score a touchdown, Russell Wilson had the ninth-best quarterback rating ever in the game and became the third-youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl, while all Malcolm Smith did is return an interception 69 yards for what turned out to be Peyton Manning’s most important pass of the game.
But as important as each of those individual efforts was, Seattle’s victory was so completely overwhelming that my decision wasn’t based on which one player was most responsible for the third-largest blowout in Super Bowl history, but the player who best embodied the reason for that victory.
Bigger, faster, stronger. It’s the motto this team was rebuilt around, and a reality that Chancellor personifies at 6 feet 3, 232 pounds.
And his first-quarter hit on Demaryius Thomas was the kind of blow that literally knocked Thomas backward, short of the first down, and figuratively stopped the Broncos cold.
“We knew tackling after the catch was going to be as big as anything,” said Dan Quinn, Seattle’s defensive coordinator. “Nobody embodies outhitting an opponent more than Kam Chancellor. He’s as physical as they come. He does it week in and week out.”
Just ask San Francisco’s Vernon Davis. Or New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham.
“All these other guys know that’s coming,” Quinn said.
More coverage of the Seahawks’ win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Highlights | Interviews||• O’Neil: What we learned from Seahawks’ win||• O’Neil: Seahawks ‘D’ continues domination in title win||• Huard: Breaking down the fly sweep in ‘Chalk Talk’||• Henderson: Title extra sweet for Harvin, receivers||• Henderson: Russell Wilson makes history in victory||• Henderson: Malcom Smith takes MVP honors|
And on Sunday’s turn it was Thomas and the rest of Denver’s passing offense asked to navigate between Earl Thomas’ range as a centerfielder at the back of Seattle’s defense while Chancellor was poised to play the sledgehammer.
He finished with nine tackles, tied for second-most on the team with Smith.
As explosive as Harvin was in this game – and he was every bit the game-breaker Seattle had hoped to have throughout this season – and as efficient as Wilson was, Seattle won this game because of this defense that was both unapologetic and unrelenting.
“We just came out and played Seahawks football,” said linebacker Bobby Wagner, who led Seattle with 10 tackles. “That’s all it is. We came and hit them in the mouth.”
And no one on this defense hits harder than Chancellor, who is bigger, faster, stronger and on Sunday, no one was better.