The MVP of the Super Bowl doesn’t necessarily have to be the MVP of the team. One outstanding game by a player from the winning team can have him holding the MVP trophy under the confetti repeating something about Disney World and “where dreams come true.” Side note: Only once in the award’s history has a player from the losing team won the MVP award (linebacker Chuck Howley won it in 1971 despite the Cowboys losing to the Baltimore Colts. Ray Lewis is the only other linebacker to win the award).
Most of the time in the past, it’s been the quarterback of the winning team to take the award home. Joe Montana holds the record with three Super Bowl MVP’s. Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, and Eli Manning have each won the award twice.
Of the 47 Super Bowls, quarterbacks have been named the MVP 25 times, followed by running backs (7), and wide receivers (6). Only 8 times has a defensive player won the award.
With that said, many arrows point in the direction of Colin Kaepernick or Joe Flacco winning this year’s award, but there are many other candidates that could easily take the honor home.
First off, the Super Bowl MVP is chosen by a fan vote and by a panel of 16 writers and broadcasters who vote after the game. Fans make up 20% of the vote while the “experts” make up 80% of the vote.
Here are five MVP candidates not named Colin Kaepernick or Joe Flacco:
1. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis
That’s an easy call. In Lewis’ final NFL game, any solid performance on his part could easily make him the Super Bowl’s most valuable player. Despite missing the majority of the season due to a torn triceps, Lewis leads the league in playoff tackles (44). If he leads a winning Ravens team in tackles, expect his name to come up.
2. Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones
Jacoby Jones can turn on the jets on offense and on special teams. During the regular season, Jones returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and one punt for a touchdown. During the postseason, he had the 70-yard catch for a touchdown against the Broncos. A touchdown on special teams plus some solid receiving yards could put Jones into the MVP category.
3. 49er running back Frank Gore
The last time a running back won the MVP award was in 1998 when Terrell Davis did it. Gore racked up over 1,200 yards and 8 touchdowns during the regular season. During the postseason, he’s averaged 104.5 yards, and put up 3 touchdowns. Gore is great at taking the pressure off of Kaepernick and expect the 49ers to use him a lot, especially early on as the flow of the game is established.
4. 49er wide receiver Michael Crabtree
Crabtree has had three multi-touchdown games in his last five outings. However, he had one of his worst performances of late against the Falcons in the NFC championship when he had 6 catches for 57 yards and the only fumble of his NFL career. Kaepernick is great at breaking down defenses, and Crabtree is capable of outplaying any secondary in the league. I think Crabtree’s media day podium was in the end zone for a reason.
5. Ravens running back Ray Rice
Rice is the team’s biggest playmaker. He has 247 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs, and he’s also a huge threat in the receiving game where he has four receptions for 69 yards.