Super Bowl MVP’s
By Loot, Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Super Bowl I: Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers.
The Packers romped in the first Super Bowl, beating the Chiefs by 25. A big part of that was the stellar play of their distinguished field general Starr, who threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns on 16 for 23 passing.
Super Bowl II: Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay was dominant for the second season in a row, easily beating the Raiders with a big assist from Starr. The Hall of Famer was 13 for 24 for 202 yards and a touchdown. His steady hand at the wheel was big part of Green Bay’s dominance in the early years of the big game.
Super Bowl III: Joe Namath, New York Jets.
The bombastic Namath, who guaranteed victory as an 18-point underdog, was fantastic. Helping get the AFL on the map, Namath was 17 for 28 for 206 yards. His presence was even more crucial than his stats, as the Jets fed off Namath’s confidence to score the biggest upset in Bowl history.
Super Bowl IV: Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs.
In notching the only win in the big game for the Chiefs, Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson was efficient, going 12 for 17 for 142 yards, which included a 46-yard scoring strike to Otis Taylor in the 3rd quarter that sealed Minnesota’s fate.
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Super Bowl V: Chuck Howley, Dallas Cowboys.
A strange MVP, being that Howley was a member of the losing team. The Colts won the game, but Howley, in his 14th season, was fantastic. He picked off two passes, yet refused to accept the award on the basis of it being “meaningless” since Dallas lost the game.
Super Bowl VI: Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas ran roughshod over the Dolphins 24-3. Staubach was only 12 of 19 for 119 yards. But it was his steady hand and two touchdown passes that played a focal role in securing the Cowboys’ first Super Bowl victory.
Super Bowl VII: Jake Scott, Miami Dolphins.
The first defensive player from a winning team to win the award, Scott’s performance from the safety position played a big part in keeping Washington off the board for the first 57 minutes of the game. Scott picked off two passes, including a huge 4th quarter interception in the end zone that he returned 55 yards to deflate the Redskins and help Miami win their first Super Bowl.
Super Bowl VIII: Larry Csonka, Miami Dolphins.
In a dominant performance, the bruising Csonka helped Miami maintain control of the game with 145 yards on a big 33 carries. The image of a bloody Csonka running wild is one of the more indelible impressions in Super Bowl lore.
Super Bowl IX: Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Another year where a big back dominated the game, Harris helped kick off Pittsburgh’s glory period with a big performance of 158 yards on the ground, including a critical 3rd quarter touchdown run.
Super Bowl X: Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Though the graceful Swann only caught 4 balls, two of them have become an entrenched part of Super Bowl history. A fantastic 53-yard catch in the first half paved the way for a gorgeous 4th quarter 64-yard touchdown catch that sealed the deal for the Steelers.
Super Bowl XI: Fred Biletnikoff, Oakland Raiders.
Another game you have to watch to understand how important the MVP was in helping his team win. Biletnikoff’s 4 catches for 79 yards might not ring of being MVP-worthy, but all his catches were huge and helped Oakland get on the board, en route to a 32-14 win over the Vikings.
Super Bowl XII: Harvey Martin/Randy White, Dallas Cowboys.
The defense was a big part of Dallas’s success in this game, with two of their best defenders splitting the award--T Randy White and DE Harvey Martin. Both were a constant thorn in the side of Denver QB Craig Morton and contributed mightily to his awful performance. The only time the award would be shared by two players.
Super Bowl XIII: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers.
In one of the more offensive Super Bowls, the Steelers needed every bit of Bradshaw’s production to beat the Cowboys. Terry was 17 for 30 for 318 yards and 4 touchdown strikes--both Super Bowl records. Also tying a record was his 75-yard TD pass to John Stallworth. Bradshaw led the Steelers on a pair of 4th quarter touchdowns, enabling them to withstand a late furious Dallas rally.
Super Bowl XIV: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers.
In winning his second straight MVP award in the big game, Bradshaw overcame a rough start before finally pulling away late with a pair of 4th quarter touchdown drives to put away the Rams. Bradshaw threw for a pair of touchdowns, with 309 yards on only 14 completions.
Super Bowl XV: Jim Plunkett, Oakland Raiders.
A few years before, you would have received huge odds against Plunkett ever becoming a Super Bowl MVP. The discarded Plunkett capped off his revival by leading Oakland to glory on the heels of a 261 yards/3 touchdown performance that put Oakland back on the map.
Super Bowl XVI: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers.
Without the aerial weapons he would later have, Montana was only 14 of 22 for 157 yards and a touchdown. But it was Montana’s capable and calm stewardship that enabled the Niners to win their first Super Bowl, as they defeated the Bengals, 26-21.
Super Bowl XVII: John Riggins, Washington Redskins.
The veteran bruiser was awesome in the postseason and saved his best for last. Riggins ran the ball an incredible 38 times, racking up a Super Bowl record 166 yards. His 4th-and-one touchdown run in the 4th quarter is one of the more memorable moments in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl XVIII: Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders.
20 rushes for 191 yards. Any questions? Allen was electric, especially considering that he didn’t tear apart just any “D,” but this was the vaunted Redskins defense--number one against the rush. Allen’s 74-yard TD run in the third quarter was one of the more thrilling Super Bowl plays of all-time.
Super Bowl XIX: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers.
In one of the strongest performances by a QB in the Super Bowl, Montana threw for 331 yards on 24-35 passing, with 3 touchdown strikes for his 2nd MVP award in the big game. As if that weren’t enough, Montana ran for 59 yards and a touchdown and was largely responsible for San Francisco’s 38 points.
Super Bowl XX: Richard Dent, Chicago Bears.
With one of the greatest defenses of all-time, it was Chicago’s Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent who won MVP honors. Dent was dominant in Super Bowl XX, registering 1.5 sacks, a blocked pass, and two forced fumbles.
Super Bowl XXI: Phil Simms, New York Giants.
Sure, the Giants relied a lot on defense, but Simms picked a great time to play perhaps his best game ever. He was on-the-money the entire game, going 22 for 25 in the air with 3 touchdowns. Simms on this day was as clutch as you could get.
Super Bowl XXII: Doug Williams, Washington Redskins.
It didn’t hurt that the unheard-of Timmy Smith ran for over 200 yards, but Williams didn’t even need it. With 340 yards in the air and 4 touchdowns, Williams was dialed in. In the second quarter alone, Williams overcame a 10-0 deficit by completing 9 passes for 228 yards and 4 touchdown strikes.
Super Bowl XXIII: Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers.
In a tough game against the Bengals, the Niners needed all the help they could get. The greatest receiver off all-time came up big in the big game, snagging 11 balls for 215 yards receiving.
Super Bowl XXIV: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers.
One of the more clutch players of his or any other era, Montana went nuts on Denver, throwing 5 touchdown passes on 22-29 passing en route to a smashing win over the Broncos. This would be Montana’s record third Super Bowl MVP.
Super Bowl XXV: Ottis Anderson, New York Giants. While 21 rushes for 102 yards and one touchdown might not seem overly-impressive, Anderson played a big part in controlling the game in a close one that is perhaps better known for Scott Norwood’s missed field goal at the end of the game.
Super Bowl XXVI: Mark Rypien, Washington Redskins.
Rypien helped engineer the well-oiled Redskins machine to a 24-0 third quarter lead that the Bills could not recover from. Rypien went 18 for 33 with 292 yards and a pair of touchdown strikes.
Super Bowl XXVII:Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys returned to the top emphatically, with a 52-17 beating of Buffalo. Aikman was a big part of it--throwing for 4 touchdowns on 22 for 30 passing. He even ran for 28 yards.
Super Bowl XXVIII: Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys.
The stats don’t even do Smith justice. Watching the game, it was clear that Emmitt was the top dog on the field in another win over Buffalo. Smith ran the ball 30 times for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also caught 4 balls.
Super Bowl XXIX: Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers.
For Young, this game was validation, a chance for him to step outside the looming shadow left by Joe Montana. He answered the call and then some. It didn’t take long for Young to leave his imprint on this game, ending up with 325 yards passing and a devastating 6 touchdown passes.
Super Bowl XXX: Larry Brown, Dallas Cowboys.
One of the more unlikely Super Bowl heroes, Brown saved his best game for this Super Bowl, where his contributions may have tipped the game in Dallas’ favor. Brown was the first corner to win the award, with two key interceptions in the second half, helping Dallas beat the Steelers.
Super Bowl XXXI: Desmond Howard, Green Bay Packers.
Howard was the first special teams player to win the award. Every time it looked like the Patriots were getting into it, Howard would electrify with a big return. Howard had 244 combined yards on kick and punt returns, including a 99-yard 3rd quarter kickoff return that seemed to take the air right out of New England.
Super Bowl XXXII: Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos.
Long plagued by migraines, which kept him out for a lot of the first half, Davis was heroic in the second half, a big part of Denver being able to shed the label of Super Bowl bridesmaids. Davis ran for 157 yards, including 3 key touchdowns runs.
Super Bowl XXXIII: John Elway, Denver Broncos.
What a way to go out! In the final game of Elway’s Hall of Fame career, he went out a winner and MVP. Elway ran for a touchdown and compiled 336 yards in the air en route to beating the Falcons for his second-straight win in the big game.
Super Bowl XXXIX: Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams.
One of the Cinderella stories in the league, the once-discarded Warner went big en route to beating the Titans. Warner threw for 414 yards--a Super Bowl record. He threw 45 attempts without an interception.
Super Bowl XXXV: Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens.
With the defense largely responsible for Baltimore’s success, it’s only appropriate that the Ravens’ top defensive player won the award. Ray Lewis was all over the field and a big reason why the Giants couldn’t get anything going. Lewis blocked 4 passes.
Super Bowl XXXVI: Tom Brady, New England Patriots.
He went 16 for 27 for only 145 yards and a touchdown, but that hardly tells the whole story. What cinched MVP honors for Brady was his steely late-game performance. With a little over a minute left and no timeouts, Brady worked his magic, getting New England and kicker Adam Vinatieri in position to kick a game-winning field goal as time expired to beat the powerful Rams.
Super Bowl XXXVII: Dexter Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Again, with a team as defensively-stout as Tampa, it’s fitting that a defensive player won the award, as Jackson picked off two passes to seal the fate for the Raiders.
Super Bowl XXXVIII: Tom Brady, New England Patriots.
Brady had huge stats in this game, unlike in his first Super Bowl MVP game. Brady was 32 for 48 with a stellar 354 yards and 3 touchdowns. But again, it was his late-game form that stood out, with Brady again setting up Adam Vinatieri late with the go-ahead score.
Super Bowl XXXIX: Deion Branch, New England Patriots.
Despite not having any touchdowns, Deion Branch’s contributions were key. His 11 catches, a Super Bowl record, were critical as the Pats narrowly upended the Eagles 24-21.
Super Bowl XL: Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ward was clutch, helping the Steelers return to glory with 5 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. Among his 5 catches was a 4th quarter touchdown pass for 43 yards that sealed the game for the Steelers.
Super Bowl XLI: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts.
Manning, long one of the league’s better field generals finally notched Super Bowl glory, going 25 for 38 for 247 yards, including a touchdown. His expert handling of the offense in the face of Chicago’s tough “D” helped the Colts win their first Bowl in over 35 years.
Super Bowl XLII: Eli Manning, New York Giants.
With his big brother having bagged Super Bowl MVP honors the previous season, it was now Eli’s turn. His 19 for 35 performance for 255 yards and 2 scores only tells part of the story. It is the final drive for which this game will be remembered, as Manning engineered a heroic 12-play/83 yard scoring drive, repeatedly averting near-disaster to win the game.
Super Bowl XLIII: Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Holmes had a heck of a game, catching 9 balls for for 131 yards and a touchdown. Again, it is his late-game dramatics that paved the way to receiving the award. With 4 catches for 73 yards on the final drive, including the go-ahead touchdown, Holmes was super-clutch. His catch in the corner of the end zone to catch the winning touchdown is one of the Super Bowl’s most vivid images.
Super Bowl XLIV: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints.
Brees completed 32 passes, tying a Super Bowl record to go along with 288 yards and a pair of touchdown strikes. His 4th quarter TD pass to Jeremy Shockey helped break open a tight game, giving the long-suffering Saints their first taste of Super Bowl glory.
Super Bowl XLV: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers.
Rodgers was big in Super Bowl XLV, passing for a robust 304 yards and three touchdowns on 24 of 39 passing. He was at his best late, converting key third downs to prevent the surging Steelers from taking over the game.
Super Bowl XLVI: Eli Manning, New York Giants.
Manning joined select company in becoming a multiple-time winner of the Super Bowl MVP. He was 30 for 40 in the air for 296 yards and a touchdown. Once again, Manning’s late-game heroics were called upon against the favored Patriots, with the Giants trailing late in the 4th quarter before Manning put together the go-ahead touchdown drive late to seal the win.
Super Bowl XLVII: Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens.
It’s not often that a quarterback rises to a new level professionally in one game, but Flacco, red hot in the postseason, kept the momentum going in the big game and secured his place among the league’s top quartebacks. The big Ravens QB was 22 for 33 with 287 yards and 3 key touchdown passes, all of which were needed as the Niners nearly came back to win the game.
Super Bowl XLVIII: Malcolm Smith, Seattle Seahawks.
The first defensive player to win the Super bowl MVP in over a decade, Smith was an unlikely choice. In a game where the award could have gone to a few different players, Smith’s 69-yard interception return for a touchdown and his fumble recovery earned him the edge. Despite Smith’s heroics, the following year he went back to being a sparsely-used role player, used mostly on special teams. But he will always have the glory of winning the MVP in Super Bowl 48.
Super Bowl XLIX: Tom Brady, New England Patriots.
In becoming the third quarterback to win 4 Super Bowls, Brady torched Seattle’s vaunted Legion of Boom secondary for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns passes. Brady was by no means perfect, with two interceptions threatening to turn the game sideways, as Seattle capitalized both times with a touchdown. But a Super Bowl-record 37 completions helped the Patriots overcome a deficit and barely escape with a 28-24 win.
Super Bowl 50: Von Miller, Denver Broncos.
A big part of the Broncos' 24-10 win over the Panthers, Miller was seemingly always hassling Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton, registering 2.5 sacks, forcing two fumbles, and setting up opponents for big plays along the way. Miller was clearly the best player on the field in Super Bowl 50.
Super Bowl LI: Tom Brady, New England Patriots.
Brady didn't start Super Bowl LI in great fashion, with his throws off-target for much of the early-going, even throwing a pick-six. But facing a third quarter deficit of 25 points, Brady's magic began to unfurl and the offense starting moving in a major way. By the end of the day, Brady completed 43 passes to the tune of a Bowl-record 466 yards, as he led his team back from the ashes to his record fifth Super Bowl win.