Why is it that the majority of the time, when it comes to handing out the Super Bowl MVP award, it goes to the QB? It almost feels like it’s the NFL’s way of playing it safe and avoiding any kind of doubt or argument.
And when it hasn’t gone to a QB, with other positional players getting the nod, why does it sometimes feel like the NFL still drops the ball?
Don’t get me wrong. For as long as I’ve watched the Super Bowl there have been some superb performances from passers left and right. But sometimes, other players who also put on a show of their own end up getting left out of the conversation, all while clearly deserving a little MVP-ridden love.
For now, as we continue to get ready for Super Bowl LVII, let’s remember some of the best players to give MVP-worthy performance’s in the NFL’s biggest game, only to get snubbed out of the award.
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Justin Tuck, DL, New York Giants, Super Bowls XLII and XLVI
Both Super Bowls had a few things in common. The Giants beat Tom Brady and the Patriots. Eli Manning had two impressive throws that pretty much won him the MVP award. And, in both games, Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck was more deserving of winning the MVP trophy than Manning.
Starting with SB XLII, Tuck put on a defensive show, sacking Brady twice, while also having two tackles for a loss, and being New York’s most important piece in their front defensive line. Not to be outdone though, in SB XLVI, Tuck would once again put on a stellar performance, becoming Brady’s nightmare again.
It’s been known throughout his career that Brady’s main weakness is being pressured in the middle of his pocket. Tuck knew that and took advantage, pressuring Brady into committing a safety on New England’s first play from scrimmage. Tuck would follow that with two sacks, three QB hits, and three tackles for a loss, once again becoming a pivotal part of New York’s victory.
Kam Chancellor, S, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX
When you think about Seattle’s legendary “Legion of Boom” defense, two names always come up as the most important leaders, CB Richard Sherman, and S Kam Chancellor. While Sherman was the heart of the legion, Chancellor was the enforcer.
In Seattle’s demolishing win over Denver, the LOB man-handled Peyton Manning’s Broncos offense. In a way, it’s understandable that Seattle’s LB Malcolm Smith would end up winning the MVP award for that game, especially considering his 69-yard pick-six against Manning.
With Chancellor calling the shots in the backfield, Seattle found itself a lockdown pit bull who made almost every single Broncos pass play look like the biggest mistake the team had made. Posting 10 tackles and an interception, Chancellor brought down Manning’s and Denver’s pass strategy in an instant.
Rodney Harrison, DB, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXIX
Even if it pains me to say, because of my deep-rooted love for the Jets, if I had to pick which of New England’s Super Bowl wins was the best, I would have to go with their 24-21 win over Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX.
With the Pats winning their third Super Bowl in four years, there’s no denying that this win was the best of the three. Maybe it was because of how good this team was playing at the time, or how Belichick had managed to concoct a roster that only understood winning, who knows?
Still, even if former Pats receiver Deion Branch put on a strong performance that would lead to him winning the MVP award if you ask anybody who watched that game, they will all agree that former DB Rodney Harrison deserved the MVP nod by a mile.
Harrison made it a point to become Donovan McNabb’s nightmare, posting 10 solo tackles, defending a pass, having two interceptions, and sacking Philadelphia’s QB once. If Harrison had more time, he probably would’ve teepeed McNabb’s house.
While Branch did have a strong performance, when compared to the game Harrison had, it’s safe to say that the NFL fumbled the MVP call by a long shot.
Ty Law, CB, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXVI
Staying with the Patriots, another pivotal piece of New England’s secondary, CB Ty Law also suffered what it was like to be snubbed out of the Super Bowl MVP award.
In New England’s first title win, facing the St. Louis Rams, aka “The Greatest Show on Turf”, Law put on a football clinic, showing what it was like to shut down the best offense in the league. With a crucial 48-yard pick-six in the middle of the second quarter of the game, Law helped the Pats get on the board, and continued to put on a dominant showing throughout the rest of the game.
Totaling seven solo tackles, one pass defended, a tackle for a loss, and the previously mentioned pick six, it’s baffling how the MVP award didn’t go to him, instead going to Brady.