We’re now a mere three days from Super Bowl LVI. As the hype continues to build among both the Bengals and Rams, speculation and bets are placed on who will win the coveted Super Bowl MVP Award and a free trip to Disney World.
And as we get closer and closer to the national holiday, let’s take a look back at the best of the best Super Bowl MVP’s in the history of the NFL.
Position groups do not matter here. We’ll judge a running-back’s performance, or a reciever’s performance as strong as any QB. Of course, the majority of the awards were won by QB’s anyway so what’s the difference.
10. Terry Bradshaw – Super Bowl XIII
318 yards, four touchdown passes, and all against one of the elite defenses in NFL History. Bradshaw’s performance in Super Bowl XIII against the Cowboys is legendary.
One of the greatest games of all-time, Super Bowl XIII had the largest collection of Hall of Fame talent in a single game in NFL History. 25 coaches, players and staff went on to Canton and Bradshaw was among the best of the group. Whether it was excellent throws to Lynn Swann or John Stallworth, Bradshaw completely dominated the Cowboys on every level.
What holds him back from being higher on the list? A lot of the plays made could have easily been chalked up to the receivers around him making acrobatic catches and runs.
Heck, Rocky Bleier jumped higher than he ever had in his life in that game!
Still a legendary performance from Terry.
9. Nick Foles – Super Bowl LII
A lot of people are going to be upset with me but I feel the nine spot is the perfect position for #9.
Foles lit up the defending champion Patriots for 373 yards and four total touchdowns, catching one. He made unbelievable throw after unbelievable throw. The Patriots had absolutely no answer for the Eagles backup. The Eagles offense put up 41 points and the franchise won it’s first Super Bowl title. Crazy enough, while the game is well know for Foles TD catch on the “Philly Special” or Brandon Graham’s fumble, Foles’ throw to Corey Clement to put the Eagles back in front 29-19 was one of the greatest throws in NFL history.
Seriously, look at this ball placement:
What holds Foles back? A very bad Patriots defense going INTO the game that could barely stop Blake Bortles isn’t exactly top competition. And while throws like the above were spectacular, the Eagles receivers were just on another level.
8. Terrell Davis – Super Bowl XXXII
Legend-wait for it – dairy
That’s what Davis was in Super Bowl XXXII. Three touchdowns against a very good Packers defense, 150 yards rushing and really the only reason Denver was even close in that game.
Many expected the Packers to blow the Broncos out of the water and yet the Broncos kept feeding Davis time and time again. Add in the fact that this dude had a migraine and couldn’t even see on the field and you go from great performance to legendary.
There’s really no debate here. Davis beating up and defending Super Bowl champs and bringing the Lombardi to Elway is an absolute staggering performance.
7. Doug Williams – Super Bowl XXII
This was the one I lost sleep over. Doug Williams’performance in Super Bowl XXII is legendary for more reasons than just putting up 35 straight points in one quarter.
As the first African American QB in the Super Bowl, and first one to win it, Williams proved that the QB position was more than just a white person’s role and paved the way for others in the future to follow. Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair, Russell Wilson and many others benefited from Williams career and game.
The numbers speak for themselves. 340 passing yards, four touchdowns. 35 unanswered in the second quarter. Against John Elway? Certainly deserving to be on this list. Could even argue for being higher.
But he sits at number eight mainly because his running back, Timmy Smith, ran for over 200 yards in that game. Any other year that guy wins the MVP award.
6. Steve Young – Super Bowl XXIX
Steve Young’s performance in Super Bowl XXIX was excellent. No doubt.
But he probably played the weakest Super Bowl opponent out of any Super Bowl MVP. I mean the Chargers? Really?
Still, 325 yards and 6 touchdown passes is certainly impressive against anyone on that stage. I would argue though that there’s no way Young wins MVP without Jerry Rice.
Rice caught 10 passes, for three touchdowns and 149 yards. Any other year he wins the MVP award with those numbers but because Young threw a touchdown six times, he got the award.
Young gets rated high for the numbers, but doesn’t crack the top five because Rice got hosed and the Chargers stunk.
5. Marcus Allen – Super Bowl XVIII
Close your eyes. And tell me what are the most memorable Super Bowl plays ever. If Marcus Allen’s run isn’t on the top of your mind then you need to rewatch all the Super Bowl’s again.
Marcus Allen reversing field on the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII is one of the greatest plays of All-time and rightfully puts him at number five on this list.
191 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns and the signature play of that Super Bowl against the defending Super Bowl Champions? Oh yea that’ll put you in the top five.
4. Joe Montana – Super Bowl XXIV
The pinnacle of Joe Montana’s powers all came together in Super Bowl XXIV.
297 yards passing, five touchdown passes and an absolute beatdown of the Denver Broncos. Montana was also extremely efficient on the day going 22 of 29 passing for an outrageous 75% completion percentage. It’s not the highest in Super Bowl history though. I put this one higher than Steve Young’s performance mostly because Montana played a much better team in Denver than Young did. And he did so as a defending champion with all the eyes on him with a bigger bullseye on his head.
Just precision, precision, precision.
3. Tom Brady – Super Bowl XLIX
Yes Brady was picked off twice. Yes his comeback in Super Bowl LI was impressive, but this was, by far, the greatest performance he ever had in the Super Bowl.
Against one of the most legendary defenses in NFL History in the Legion of Boom, Brady completed 37 of 50 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns. The game-winning touchdown pass to Edelman, continuing to shred one of the NFL’s best and actually winning? His best performance of All-time.
There are two big reasons why I picked this version over the one against Atlanta. 1. Obviously the Legion was the best team Brady ever played in a win. 2. James White SHOULD have won the MVP award after a 14 catch, 100 yard game as a RB. Brady even recognized it after the game.
His performance against the Legion of Boom, especially in the fourth quarter, was arguably the greatest quarter of football any QB has ever played.
2. Jerry Rice – Super Bowl XXIII
Literally pick any Super Bowl Rice played in and there is an argument he should have won MVP. Literally any game.
The greatest football player to ever live turned out his best performance in Super Bowl XXIII. 11 Catches, 215 yards receiving, and a touchdown. Massive catches on the game winning drive, and again two hundred bleepin yards receiving in one game.
It did not matter who the Bengals were throwing at Rice all game, he was always open and was the catalyst for the game-winning touchdown drive to John Taylor. I don’t care who was throwing him the ball – there’s not a receiver in sports history that put up numbers like this.
Rice = GOAT.
1. Phil Simms – Super Bowl XXI
Pop quiz! Who has the best single game completion percentage in Super Bowl history?
At a whopping 88%, Phil Simms resoundingly takes the cake. Simms performance in Super Bowl XXI was the greatest performance in Super Bowl history. 22 of 25 passing (!!!), 268 yards passing and three touchdowns.
This dude had as many touchdowns as he had incompletions. This wasn’t in an era like now where the passing numbers are always padded and completion percentages are high. Simms did this in 1986 against a good Denver defense.
It’s the most efficient passing performance in Super Bowl history and easily the best overall in Super Bowl history.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire