Chris Matthews doesn't allow himself to reflect on Super Bowl XLIX and wonder, "what if?"
The Seahawks receiver instead is too busy trying to prove that his big performance in that game was an example of who he can be in the NFL, and not just some one-game anomaly.
"I haven't watched the TV copy of it, I haven't paid attention to the talk, all of that stuff doesn't mean nothing to me," Matthews said. "What it meant to me is that I know I can play. I just wanted to show that to the coaches and the rest of the organization, as well as the rest of the NFL. I wanted people to see that I'm a player to be reckoned with, and this year I'm going to come out and do everything I can to help this team win.
"Actually, I thought about it once, but only because my brother kept on talking about it. He wouldn't let it go because we were around our friends, but that was the only time I thought about it. Other than that, I don't think about 'what if?'"
But even if Matthews won't dwell on his Super Bowl XLIX performance, it is worth it for the rest of us to revisit just what a remarkable game that was. Matthews, who signed a future contract with Seattle after the 2013 season, nearly didn't make it to his workout with the team because he wasn't sure he could get out of his shift at Foot Locker. With a resume that also include stints with the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League as well as the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Matthews did enough to convince Seattle to sign him.
Despite offering size the Seahawks didn't have at receiver, the 6-foot-5, 218-pound Matthews spent most of last season on the practice squad, then when he was signed to the active roster in December, it was primarily to help on special teams. Matthews first made a name for himself by recovering an onside kick to help the Seahawks complete a stunning comeback in the NFC Championship Game, but as crazy as that moment was, Matthews was just warming up.
With the Seahawks' offense struggling in the first half of Super Bowl XLIX, and with the Patriots using a smaller corner on Matthews, Russell Wilson took a shot deep, and Mathews hauled it in for the first catch of his NFL career. Let's repeat that. A 44-yard catch to set up a touchdown in the Super Bowl was the first catch of Matthews' NFL career. NFL catch No. 2 was an 11-yard touchdown at the end of the half, and Matthews would end the game with 109 yards on four catches, all of which contributed to scoring drives.
Had the Seahawks managed that one last yard and won the game, Matthews might have been one the least-likely MVP's of the game in history—Malcolm Smith was a household name, by comparison—and MVP trophy or not, Matthews' status would have skyrocketed during the offseason. Instead, he quietly went about his business in the offseason, and continues to do so in camp, working to show his coaches and teammates that he can be counted on every week.
"I'm just trying to taper down the mistakes out there, but other than that, I feel like I'm doing pretty good catching the balls that are coming to me," he said. "It's just understanding the little nuances of the game as a receiver. You're always trying to get better and learn more at your position… That's what camp is for, just to iron things out and get oiled up and fined tuned for everything."
Matthews' willingness and ability to play on special teams was his key to a spot on the active roster last season, and it will help him this year in the battle for jobs at what is one of the team's deepest positions in camp, but he's also eager to prove he is a lot more than a special teamer who happened to have one big game. Matthews was less in awe of his Super Bowl performance immediately after the game as he was disappointed he didn't get a chance to show what he could do sooner, and if he can't get on the field regularly this year, he admits it will be hard to hide his frustration.
"It's hard for me," Matthews said. "I'm definitely a competitor, and when I see things that I know I can do, or that I'm capable of doing and I'm not doing them, I get angry, I get frustrated. Sometimes I wear my emotions on my sleeves. You can tell bad body language sometimes, so that's something I'm working on. Overall I feel like, when it's my time, it's my time. I can't tell the coaches to put me in the game or the quarterback to throw me the ball 50 times. That's up to the coaches."
Early in camp, it's clear that Wilson is more than comfortable throwing to Matthews—109 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl is a pretty solid trust-builder—and between his development and the addition of 6-foot-7 tight end Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks could feature a size element that wasn't present over the past few seasons.
"We do like the size, it shows up quickly," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "Without a doubt, it helps Russell in different ways and it does show up for us. You can see them, you can see those guys particularly when they're running into traffic areas, between the numbers."
A player-by-player look at Seattle's wide receivers ahead of the Seahawks' 2015 training camp.