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GLENDALE, Arizona (Reuters) - Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Chris Matthews was working in a shoe store a year ago but on Sunday he was putting together an MVP-worthy performance in the Super Bowl that was spoiled by the New England Patriots.
The unheralded wide receiver entered the National Football League's championship game without a career reception but put together the game of his life.
"I don't care if I don't even have one pass, one yard, one tackle, it wouldn't have mattered to me as long as we had won the game." said Matthews, who played only 26 offensive snaps this season entering the Super Bowl. "I would have been happy with a win with no stats."
Undrafted out of college, Matthews bounced around for a few teams, including in the Canadian Football League, and was never able to stick on a roster. He was out of football and working for Foot Locker, an American sportswear and footwear retailer, when he got the call from Seattle.
Matthews initially told them he did not finish work until later that night and could not make the tryout but his agent convinced him to get on a plane.
The decision changed his life.
With Seattle trailing 7-0 midway through the second quarter, Matthews jumped and twisted around to complete an incredible 44-yard catch that put Seattle at the Patriots' 11-yard line. Three plays later, Marshawn Lynch scored a game-tying touchdown.
Then, when it appeared the Patriots would take a lead into halftime, Matthews found himself on the receiving end of an 11-yard touchdown pass that tied the score at 14-14 with two seconds left in the half.
Three plays into the third quarter Matthews was at it again as he hauled in a 45-yard Russell Wilson pass that set up a go-ahead field goal to make it 17-14.
Seattle went on to build a 24-14 lead but were unable to hang on as the Patriots scored two touchdowns to pull ahead and sealed the victory after intercepting a Russell Wilson pass in the end zone.
Matthews finished Sunday's game with four receptions for 109 yards.
"I just think the coaches prepared me in the best possible way they can in practice," said Matthews. "Making sure that I was well prepared for what was to come, regardless of whether it was this year, next year or the year after that."
Editing by Gene Cherry