Seahawks' Matthews distinguishes himself at Super Bowl
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Whenever Seattle Seahawks receiver Chris Matthews searched online for news about himself, he always had to add the word football. Any other search for Chris Matthews almost always ended up with political talk show host Chris Matthews.
That will likely change after Sunday's Super Bowl.
Despite his team losing to the New England Patriots, Matthews made a name for himself with a breakout game in the Super Bowl, catching four passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.
''This is huge for me to finish a game and do what I did,'' Matthews said. ''Now I feel like I should come back and work extremely hard.''
Even another well-known Chris Matthews - of MSNBC's ''Hardball'' - took notice.
''Congratulations on a great first half to the (at)Seahawks Chris Matthews from the (at)hardball Chris Matthews!'' the host wrote on Twitter.
The Seattle receiver put in plenty of work to get here.
Matthews played two seasons at Kentucky after transferring from a junior college and was signed by the Cleveland Browns in 2011. He was cut before the end of training camp and spent the year out of football.
After that, Matthews played two seasons for Winnipeg in the Canadian Football League, but had to work other jobs to make enough money.
He was working at Foot Locker when the Seahawks asked him to try out for the team last February and ended up making the team after nearly declining their invitation.
Matthews didn't catch a pass during the regular season, but did come up with the onside kick that helped Seattle pull out its improbable win over Green Bay in the NFC Championship.
During the Super Bowl, Matthews made a spectacular 44-yard catch to jumpstart Seattle's offense in the second quarter and hauled in an 11-yard touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half.
''It was great for me,'' he said.
The end of the Super Bowl was marred by a brawl in the closing seconds.
New England had just intercepted a pass in the end zone with 20 seconds left and took over at its 1-yard line. Hoping to just run out the clock, the Patriots had quarterback Tom Brady take a knee.
Instead of accepting defeat, the Seahawks tried to rush the line and get to the ball before Brady could take a knee, setting off pushing and shoving from both sides.
Skirmishes broke out across the line and a couple of players hit the ground, including New England tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, who was wrestled down by Seattle linebacker Bruce Irvin.
Irvin was ejected from the game and Brady was able to kneel and run out the clock once order was restored.
''I was protecting a teammate, emotions flew,'' Irvin said. ''I saw somebody hit Mike Bennett, so I went and backed up my brother. I went about it wrong. Emotions were flying high and I apologize. But if it happened again, I would go protect my teammate. That's just how it is.''
New England quarterback Tom Brady has been known for keeping his cool in tight spots and did exactly that on New England's final drive.
The Patriots started the drive at their own 36-yard line with 6:52 left and methodically worked their way down the field.
Brady was brutally efficient on the drive, hitting six straight short passes to get it going. He finished the drive 8 for 8 and capped it with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman for what ended up being the winning score.
Brady also orchestrated a late winning drive in New England's win over St. Louis at the 2001 Super Bowl in New Orleans.
''Hard to remember that far back - I'm a little older now,'' said Brady, who was named Super Bowl MVP for the third time. ''You just have to make plays to win. It was great. We haven't had many games this year that have come down like this. I'm glad we made the plays when we needed to.''
CARROLL'S SOCIAL CRITICISM
Seattle coach Pete Carroll's decision to throw a pass instead of handing the ball off to Marshawn Lynch at the end of the Super Bowl instantly drew plenty of criticism on social media. New England's Malcolm Butler jumped the route on the final pass for an interception that allowed the Patriots to run out the clock.
''That was the worst play call I've seen in the history of football,'' Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith said on Twitter.
''This game is getting too complicated now trying to out smart and out think the other team. Run the ball stick to the basics.'' New York Jets fullback John Conner, said on Twitter.
''Bad things happen when u try get cute in football. Seattle best player one yard away from goal line with a timeout and he doesn't touch it?'' former NFL linebacker Scott Shanle said on Twitter.
Even actor Will Ferrell chimed in, dropping a reference to Lynch's pat answer about only being at media day so he doesn't get fined.
''Y'all know why I'm here. Well...everyone except Pete Carroll.'' Ferrell said on Twitter.
Carroll accepted the blame after the game, saying he thought the passing play might throw off the Patriots, who were lined up in a goal-line defense.
''It's not the right matchup for us to run the football, so on second down we throw the ball really to kind of waste a play,'' he said. ''If we score, we do, if we don't, then we'll run it on third and fourth down. Really, with no second thoughts or hesitation in that at all. And, unfortunately, with the play we tried to execute, the guy jumps in front of the route and makes an incredible play that nobody would ever think he could do.''
Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin drew a penalty flag for unsportsmanlike conduct after catching a touchdown pass to put the Seahawks up two scores in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. Why? Something of a mystery to television viewers.
But it appeared to have been an obscene gesture; Baldwin apparently simulated pulling down his pants over the football as if to go to the bathroom.
Two officials immediately threw a flag when Baldwin squatted over the ball.
Lines were out the door at some Las Vegas sports books in the hours before the Super Bowl, with bettors eager to take their shot at a game that oddsmakers called a tossup.
At the South Point book, oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said the pick `em line was the first he could remember since the 1982 Super Bowl, with money balanced evenly on each team.
''The best job we're doing today is staying out of the way and taking their cash,'' Vaccaro said. ''We have nothing to be concerned about. We win no matter who wins.''
With two hours left before the game, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook had all windows open and the Seahawks favored by a point, though oddsmaker Jay Kornegay said he was about to change the game to pick `em.
''It's rush hour right now,'' Kornegay said. ''We had lines literally outside most of the day, which was pretty much what we expected.''
Seattle opened a favorite two weeks ago, but the line switched to New England when early money came in on the Patriots. The late money was on the Seahawks, evening the game out as pick `em at most legal books.
''This is the easiest game I've ever been involved with,'' said Vaccaro, who began making odds in the 1970s. ''Barring something silly like a 4-0 game it's going to be very good for the books.''
Vaccaro said the betting could surpass the $119.7 million wagered on last year's Super Bowl in Nevada sports books, which was a record
Security for the Super Bowl, as expected, was quite tight.
University of Phoenix Stadium was ringed with security personnel, including SWAT teams with machine guns, uniformed and plain-clothes police and hundreds of workers in red jackets.
Everyone who entered the stadium was subject to a pat down, metal detectors and bag checks. Bomb-sniffing dogs also roamed the grounds and checked bags at security checkpoints.
Local officials also received help from the Border Patrol, which brought Black Hawk helicopters and truck-sized X-ray machines to make sure the Super Bowl was safe.