Byron Maxwell is headed to the Super Bowl.
The former Tiger, who over the second half of the NFL season has become a mainstay cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, will be tested by the best when he goes up against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.
Maxwell survived a second-half injury scare and played his usual steady, focused game for the Seahawks on Sunday, as they rallied from a 10-3 halftime deficit and defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 to earn ticket to East Rutherford, N.J., on Feb. 2.
Maxwell had three tackles, two solo, and broke up a pair of passes in Sunday's game.
Since getting a shot in the starting lineup due to a teammate's suspension, Maxwell has soared, earning praise from his opponents and respect from his teammates.
Going into the Super Bowl, Maxwell has 36 tackles and four interceptions.
In a recent blog for MMQB.com, teammate and roommate Richard Sherman, who leads the Seahawks in interceptions with eight, wrote about Maxwell and what he means to the team:
“As a young cornerback, you're going to get picked on,” Sherman wrote. “There are two ways you can go about it: you can be nervous and wonder how you’re going to react. Guys ask themselves: What am I going to do if the ball comes? What happens if they keep catching balls on me?
“Or you can go in there and say: I understand what they want to do on first down, second down and third down. I understand their concepts, their plays and their formations. I’m going to be aggressive and put myself in a position to make plays. That’s the mentality that Maxwell has. Like Earl Thomas always says, Maxwell gets “lost in the game.”
“That kind of hard-headed, singular thought is what separates great players from good players. Throughout each of our careers, we have our abilities questioned one way or another. Maxwell came into the NFL stiff - literally. He couldn’t touch his toes while standing. So he took up hot yoga and has been dedicated to it for three years...
“Everybody comes into this league with a weakness, just like each team enters the season with holes in its roster. The trick is turning those weaknesses into strengths. That’s what Byron Maxwell gave us.
“At this point, he’s well-prepared, and he’s playing as well as any corner in the NFL. He understands that when you begin to change things because the stage is bigger and the lights are brighter, you start making mistakes.”