It produced the Rant Heard Round the World afterward, but it was also the play that sent the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl.
Trailing 23-17, the San Francisco 49ers had a first-and-10 at the Seattle 18 in the final seconds. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick tried to get the ball to Michael Crabtree in the back corner of the end zone, but Sherman leaped and tipped it into the hands of Smith for the interception.
Many people, however, will only remember what came a few moments later with Sherman’s screaming rant against Crabtree on national TV, but it might have been the 49ers in the Super Bowl instead of the Seahawks if not for that play by Sherman and Smith.
That play was one of the few times Kaepernick challenged Sherman all game. It was a type of throw that rarely works against the All-Pro cornerback. But Smith didn’t get enough credit for finishing the play, using his speed to race to the ball and make the interception.
Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has a saying for his players: “Good things happen to those who run.” It’s certainly true for Smith, one of the league’s fastest linebackers. He proved it in the Super Bowl with his 69-yard pick-6 that made him the MVP.