"My friends were watching ESPN and they were picking their MVPs," Jackson said. "I hadn't even played the game yet, and I figured that I could be the difference. I told somebody that I was going to be the Most Valuable Player."
"We knew that Gannon loves to throw the football, so we knew there was a chance to make some big plays," Jackson said.
Nickel back Dwight Smith had two interception returns for touchdowns and the defensive line continually harassed Gannon, who finished the game with a 48.9 passer rating. Linebacker Derrick Brooks also had an interception return for a touchdown, so the decision was a tough one for the MVP voters.
"As far as I am concerned, the whole defense could have won the award," defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said.
"That was big," Smith said. "Any time you can make Rich Gannon make a mistake, it's big. Dexter's first two interceptions really helped the momentum. My interception just sealed the deal. That's usually what our defense does. We make the plays that seal the game."
For Jackson, being named Most Valuable Player was validation for the secondary.
"We had the No. 1 defense and nobody gave us any credit," Jackson said. "We felt like we were one of the strong points of the team. We just didn't get any attention.
"I look at it like an expensive car. You appreciate the shiny outside exterior of the car, but you don't really appreciate the underneath stuff, like the spark plugs. I feel like I'm one of the spark plugs on this team."
When Jackson first came to the Buccaneers, he was affectionately nicknamed "Dirt Road" in honor of his rural hometown of Quincy, Fla. As Super Bowl MVP, he was given a Cadillac of his choice -- spark plugs and all.