The weariness was evident in Chris Maragos’ voice Tuesday afternoon.
In the previous 48 hours, Maragos had performed on a world stage during Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J., and celebrated into the wee hours with his Seattle Seahawks teammmates after their 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos.
Then came a cross-country flight back home Monday — extended all the more by a stop in Minneapolis to de-ice their plane — followed by a reception from the notoriously football-crazed Seahawks fans.
“It’s been crazy,” said Maragos, a 2005 Horlick High School graduate who is a special teams ace and backup safety. “It’s been a whirlwind.”
What was it like to play in a Super Bowl with the world looking on?
For the 27-year-old Maragos, the experience at MetLife Stadium was almost beyond words.
“It was unreal,” he said. “Just the stage it’s set on is amazing and you feel the weight of literally the world watching. When you’re warming up before the game, with all the cameras and the media and the fans in the stadium, you can just feel the weight of it.
“It’s just an unbelievable experience, one I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Maragos, who played exclusively on special teams, nearly forced a turnover. Late in the second quarter, Maragos stripped the ball from Trindon Holiday during a Broncos kickoff return and Seattle recovered. But after a challenge, Holiday was ruled down and the Broncos retained possession.
“It was one of those bang-bang plays and the replay showed he was down right before the ball came out,” Maragos said.
The Seahawks entered the game with a no-name defense. But after holding five-time NFL Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning and the high-octane Broncos offense to
one touchdown, the Seahawks are being widely mentioned with some of the great all-time defenses.
For Maragos, such acclaim is warranted.
“We held the best offense in NFL history to eight points in the Super Bowl,” Maragos said. “We were No. 1 in the NFL in every major category and you have to put us up with some of the best defenses of all time.
“It’s just a very, very hungry, motivated group.”
When the Seahawks’ charter arrived in Seattle early Monday evening, the boisterous “12th Man” fans who set a record for loudest crowd noise during the regular season were waiting. And what had been a championship-starved city played it up to the hilt.
“They had the fire trucks with the lights, the police cars with all the sirens going off and people were out there
cheering,” Maragos said. “On the ride back to our facility, all the fans were lined. The reception was just unreal.”
Maragos’ immediate plans include resting up from a long season and waiting for his wife, Serah, to deliver the couple’s second son, who is due later this month. Once free agency starts in March, Maragos will consider his options on the open market.
“At this point, we’re going to find the best fit,” he said. “Whether it’s the Seahawks or another team, we’re open and we just want to have the best fit for us.”