If not for one of the most criticized play calls in Super Bowl history, Chris Matthews' out-of-nowhere showcase during Super Bowl XLIX had the makings of an MVP performance -- and a bona fide fairy-tale ending. The Seattle Seahawks' massive pass-catcher recorded the first four receptions of his NFL career Sunday night for a team-high 109 yards and one touchdown.
If not for one of the most criticized play calls in Super Bowl history, Chris Matthews’ out-of-nowhere showcase during Super Bowl XLIX had the makings of an MVP performance — and a bona fide fairy-tale ending. The Seattle Seahawks’ massive pass-catcher recorded the first four receptions of his NFL career Sunday night for a team-high 109 yards and one touchdown.
Ultimately, Matthews’ would-be heroics were undone by head coach Pete Carroll’s controversial decision to throw the ball from the New England Patriots’ 1-yard line within the game’s final 30 seconds rather than handing off to bruising running back Marshawn Lynch. The resulting interception by another undrafted player — Patriots rookie Malcolm Butler — sealed New England’s fourth Super Bowl title in franchise history. But collectors holding copies of Matthews’ only NFL Rookie Card — from Panini America’s 2011 Gridiron Gear Football set — were big winners anyway.
When Matthews was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky in 2011, it gave Panini America’s product development team the opportunity to add him to the checklist for 2011 Gridiron Gear Football, creating an afterthought of a Rookie Card that stayed way below the radar for the last four years.
Of course, then last night happened. Matthews produced a bevy of big plays — including a touchdown grab with two seconds remaining in the first half to tie the score, 14-14 — that sent savvy collectors scurrying to their boxes and binders to see if they had any Rookie Cards of a player that was cut by the Browns prior to the start of the 2011 season and then spent two years in the Canadian Football League.
Those that did wasted little time posting them to eBay. The result: A card that last sold in September for the paltry sum of $1.40 skyrocketed to a princely $50 during the game. Another copy sold during the game for $38.99.
Seattle’s eventual loss in Super Bowl XLIX won’t do anything to stabilize those 3,500 percent, heat-of-the-moment value jumps over the long term; but if Matthews picks up in 2015 where he left off in the Super Bowl, the days of his only Rookie Card selling for as much as two vending-machine candy bars are likely gone forever.