EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Richard Sherman wasn't on the field for the final few minutes of Super Bowl XLVIII, having suffered an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter. But that didn't lessen Sherman's excitement after his Seattle Seahawks' 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos.
"It really numbs the pain a lot," Sherman said. "It was really hurting, and I was sad I let my teammates down and I wasn't able to finish the game. But I knew they would step up for me and do that. And this feeling is just unbelievable, it's a dream come true."
The truth is, the game was over long before the Seahawks' star cornerback was carted back to the locker room. Sherman was on crutches after the game but said X-rays were negative and the injury was diagnosed as a high ankle sprain.
"I'm as 100 percent as I can be for the celebration," Sherman said. "I will be at the celebration, I will not miss that."
The Seahawks' defense was simply dominant on Sunday, holding the top-ranked offense in the NFL to just one score. Sherman, who led the league in interceptions in the regular season with eight, played a part, with three tackles and one pass defensed. But he was overshadowed by some of his teammates -- although to be fair, Peyton Manning didn't throw in Sherman's direction often.
Safety Kam Chancellor had 10 tackles and an interception. Defensive end Chris Clemons had a sack and two forced fumbles. And linebacker Malcolm Smith had a fumble recovery and an interception returned for a touchdown en route to winning the Super Bowl MVP award.
Smith also made the game-clinching interception at the end of the Seahawks' NFC Championship Game victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
"I think Malcolm Smith was overshadowed last week, with all the noise, with my rant and everything, all the attention it got," Sherman said. "People lost track of Malcolm Smith making an incredible interception that sealed that game. And today I think he really put his stamp on the game."
Sherman turned himself into the biggest story in sports after his outburst immediately after the Seahawks' win over the 49ers, screaming, "I'm the best corner in the game!" and then ripping San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree. But Sherman took a different approach during Super Bowl week in New York, praising his teammates time and time again instead of talking about himself.
He continued to do that after his team's Super Bowl victory. And he was complimentary of Manning as well, despite questioning Manning's arm strength in a column for TheMMQB.com last month, which turned into a minor Super Bowl week controversy.
"I think it was a total team effort, and it took a lot of discipline and hard work," Sherman said. "And hats off to Peyton Manning. He's the offensive MVP, offensive player of the year, and no disrespect to him. He's still a great quarterback, one of the best all-time. But today we just played sound football, we were able to execute. And we did it."