Queenslander Jesse Williams has become the first Australian to win a Super Bowl ring, despite not taking the field for the Seattle Seahawks during the 2013 NFL season.
Williams, who was nicknamed “The Monstar” when he was part of a fearsome Arizona defence during his college career, was drafted in the fifth round of the NFL draft by the Seahawks last April.
However, the giant defensive tackle, who tips the scales at 147kg and measures 191cm, badly damaged his knee during pre-season training and was placed on injured reserve, ruling him out for his entire rookie season.
Despite this, the Thursday Island-born 23-year-old was still classed as part of the Seattle squad and received a winning ring following his side’s 43-8 hammering of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 48 at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns and the Seahawks’ ferocious defence overwhelmed Denver’s record-setting offence, forcing four turnovers on the way to the stunning victory.
— jarryd hayne (@jarrydhayne_1) February 3, 2014
The Seahawks, owned by Microsoft co-founding billionaire Paul Allen, captured their first NFL crown. Seattle lost to Pittsburgh in 2006 in the team’s only prior Super Bowl visit.
“It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to take the Lombardi trophy back to Seattle,” Allen said.
Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown and recovered a fumble to set up Wilson’s first scoring toss to earn Most Valuable Player honours as the Seahawks’ defence, which led the NFL in fewest points allowed and takeaways, humbled Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Seattle scored the most points by a Super Bowl team since Tampa Bay had 48 in a 2003 victory over Oakland and won by the most lopsided margin since Dallas defeated Buffalo 52-17 in 1993.
“This is an amazing team,” Seahawks Pete Carroll said. “These guys would never take anything but winning this game.”
Wilson, 25, won the title in only his second year in the NFL.
“It feels great to win this title,” Wilson said.
Denver suffered a record fifth Super Bowl defeat, but the team’s first since 1990. The Broncos won in their two prior trips to the title game in 1998 and 1999.
Smith picked off Manning and scored with 3:21 remaining in the second quarter to give the Seahawks a 22-0 half-time edge.
Seattle’s Percy Harvin, who missed most of the season after hip surgery, returned the opening kickoff of the third quarter 87 yards for a touchdown for a 29-0 Seahawks lead.
The Broncos surrendered their third turnover when Byron Maxwell knocked the ball from the grasp of Demaryius Thomas and Smith recovered.
Seattle took advantage of the turnover when Wilson tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse for a 36-0 lead.
Denver avoided becoming the first team in Super Bowl history to go scoreless when Manning threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Thomas on the last play of the third quarter.
Thomas set a Super Bowl record with his 12th reception of the game on the play, which was followed by a two-point Manning conversion pass to Wes Welker to trim Seattle’s lead to 36-8.
But Wilson answered with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin to stretch Seattle’s lead to the final margin.
From there it was only a matter of time until the clock ran out and Seattle’s confetti-filled celebration began.
The kickoff temperature of 9.4C was 10 degrees warmer than the coldest-ever Super Bowl in 1972 in New Orleans, a far cry from fears of bitter cold and snow at the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city.