- Terry Blount, ESPN Staff Writer
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It’s not how you start, but how you finish. And Percy Harvin finished with a Super Bowl bang.
No. 3 – Harvin’s 87-yard kickoff return TD in the Super Bowl.
Call it the $67 million kickoff return. Receiver Percy Harvin was the biggest offseason signing by the Seahawks last year, the explosive playmaker who could get the team to the next level and reach the Super Bowl.
As it turned out, Seattle did that without him. Harvin had major hip surgery in August to repair a torn labrum. He played briefly in one regular-season game against his former Minnesota Vikings teammates on Nov. 17, returning a kickoff 58 yards, but aggravated his hip and missed the rest of the regular season.
He returned for the first playoff game against New Orleans, but suffered a concussion and didn’t play in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers.
Basically, it was a frustrating year and a season down the tubes until Super Bowl Sunday.
Seattle led Denver 22-0 at the half when the Broncos kicked off to start the third quarter. Matt Prater had no intention of kicking it deep to Harvin.
Prater deliberately popped it short and the ball bounced on the 12. Harvin raced up to grab it on the bounce at the 13, then saw an opening up the middle. Denver linebacker Nate Irving came racing in from the right outside lane and had a shot at Harvin on the 15, but Irving was a step too late.
When he reached the Seattle 32, two Broncos were waiting right in front of him – linebacker Brandon Marshall and tight end Jacob Tamme. Harvin left them looking for their, well, you know. He juked to the left and ran right by them.
The only man left between Harvin and the end zone was Prater. No chance. Harvin juked a little back to the right, Prater helplessly fell to the turf and Harvin was gone.
The Seahawks led 29-0, and this Super Bowl was over. Had it not been for the incredible performance by the Seattle defense, possibly the best ever in a Super Bowl, Harvin would have won MVP honors. That went to linebacker Malcolm Smith, who had a 69-yard pick-six.
Harvin also was the leading rusher in the game with two carries for 45 yards on two end arounds, one for 30 yards and one for 15.
The Harvin trade, which cost the Seahawks a six-year, $67 million contract, a first-round pick and seventh-round pick in 2013, and a 2014 third-round selection, paid off in the end. And the future now looks bright.