Undrafted rookies steal spotlight at Super Bowl 49


Malcolm Butler made the play of the game for the Patriots in their Super Bowl 49 win

Malcolm Butler made the play of the game for the Patriots in their Super Bowl 49 win

Let’s start this blog with a trivia quiz… Twelve different players have been named Super Bowl MVP and have won the league MVP award (AP Player of the Year). How many of the 12 can you name? Hint: There are nine quarterbacks and three running backs on this list. Answer appears at the end of the post.

Tom Brady won his third Super Bowl MVP in New England’s 28-24 win over Seattle in Super Bowl 49. A pair of undrafted rookies (one from each team), however, stole the spotlight. In fact, had the Seahawks held on to win that game, there was a good chance that the undrafted rookie from the Seahawks could have been named the game’s MVP.

First, Chris Matthews, an undrafted receiver from the University of Kentucky, did not have a reception in his career prior to Super Bowl 49. At the end of the game, he had four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown reception for Seattle. He became only the third rookie receiver to have 100 receiving yards in a Super Bowl. Here’s a look at the three players who had 100 or more receiving yards in the Super Bowl in a rookie season (year is the actual year the game was played).

Player, Team, Year, Catches/Receiving Yards
Chris Matthews, Seattle, 2015, four catches/109 yards
Torry Holt, St. Louis, 2000, seven catches/109 yards
Cris Collinsworth, Cincinnati, 1982, five catches/107 yards

Matthews also became the eighth rookie player to have a receiving TD in the Super Bowl. The eight: Matthews, Seattle, 2015; Holt, St. Louis, 2000; William Floyd, San Francisco, 1995; Ricky Nattiel, Denver, 1988; Charlie Brown, Washington, 1983; Sammy White, Minnesota, 1977; Percy Howard, Dallas, 1976; Duane Thomas, Dallas, 1971.

On the other side of the ball, New England’s Malcolm Butler, an undrafted defensive back from West Alabama, made the big play of the game with an interception at the goal-line in the closing seconds of the game. It was Butler’s first career interception. Butler became the sixth rookie player to intercept a pass in the Super Bowl. The six: Butler, New England, 2015; Bill Romanowski, San Francisco, 1989; Brian Davis, Washington, 1988; Jim Morrissey, Chicago, 1986; Reggie Phillips, Chicago, 1986; Eric Wright, San Francisco, 1982.

Trivia answer: The 12 players who have won a Super Bowl MVP and a league MVP (AP Player of the Year honor) in their career are Marcus Allen, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Terrell Davis, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Aaron Rodgers, Emmitt Smith, Bart Starr, Kurt Warner, Steve Young.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp


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