TT is an online writer with over six years of experience writing about sports and pop culture.
These guys walked away with the biggest game's highest honors, but many wonder if they really should have. Today I rank the top 10 questionable Super Bowl most valuable players of all time.
To be clear I'm not saying these players didn't deserve the MVP trophy, but in many cases their were other players who deserved it just as much.
Bart Starr - Super Bowl I
He had a good game, but one of his favorite targets deserved just as much.
In 1966, Bart Starr had arguably the best season of his career, throwing for 2,257 yards, 14 touchdown passes, and only 3 interceptions. He led the NFL with a completion percentage of 62.2 and a 105 passer rating, while leading the Packers to a dominating 12-2 record and being named league MVP. In the first ever Super Bowl, he had a solid game against the Kansas City Chiefs, throwing for 250 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
While Starr's numbers were good, the receiver who caught his two touchdown passes could have easily been named the game's MVP.
34 year old wide receiver Max McGee was not even expected to play in the game. So he violated his team's curfew policy and spent the night before the Super Bowl out on the town. In the second drive of the game, starting wide out Boyd Dowler went down with a shoulder injury. Nursing a hangover, McGee had borrow a teammate's helmet because he had not brought his own out of the locker room. Shortly after entering the game, he made a one-handed reception and took it 37 yards for a touchdown. He would finish the first Super Bowl with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
9. Desmond Howard - Super Bowl XXXI
He's the only special teams player to win Super Bowl MVP, but two of his teammates deserved it just as much.
Prior to joining the Packers in 1996, Desmond Howard was viewed as a bust due to his failure to develop into the receiver many had expected. That year, he led the NFL in all punt return categories. In Super Bowl XXXI with New England mounting a late comeback, Howard effectively shattered the Patriots' hopes with a 99-yard kickoff return for a Packers touchdown. totaled a Super Bowl record 90 punt return yards and 154 kickoff return yards. His 244 all purpose yards also tied a Super Bowl record. His performance won him the MVP, making him the only player to ever win the award based solely on a special teams performance.
While Howard's game was record setting, two Hall of Famers made their own marks on the game.
Quarterback Brett Favre finished the game with 246 passing yards, three total touchdowns and set a Super Bowl record with an 81-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman. Defensive end Reggie White was unblockable during the game and set a Super Bowl record by sacking Drew Bledsoe three times.
8. Jake Scott - Super Bowl VII
He had a solid game, but many Dolphins feel another member of the "No Name" defense should have been MVP.
Jake Scott was a key contributor to the Dolphins undefeated season in 1972. In Super Bowl VII, Scott intercepted Washington quarterback Billy Kilmer twice and was named the games MVP.
Scott made plays, but those picks were hardly the difference makers in the game.
Hall of Fame fullback Larry Csonka rushed for 112 yards and over seven yards per carry. But the Dolphin many players feel should have been MVP is defensive tackle Manny Fernandez. Fernandez had arguably the most dominant Super Bowl a defensive lineman has ever had with 17 tackles and a sack while playing with two bad shoulder.
7. Fred Biletnikoff - Super Bowl XI
He's one of the all time greats, but his Super Bowl performance was a little under whelming.
Throughout his career, Fred Biletnikoff was the premier possession receiver in the league. In His Super Bowl XI MVP campaign, he recorded four receptions for 79 yards and three of those catches set up Oakland touchdowns.
While his catches were key, an unlikely duo should have been MVPs.
Hall of Fame offensive linemen Art Shell and Gene Upshaw completely neutralized Minnesota's "Purple People Eater" defensive line. The duo paved the way for Clarence Davis and Mark van Eeghen to rush for a Super Bowl record 266 rushing yards. Shell and Upshaw were so dominant, All-Pro defensive end Jim Marshall didn't register a tackle the entire game.
6. Dexter Jackson- Super Bowl XXXVII
He had two picks early, but another defensive back had an even more impressive performance.
Starting at free safety, Dexter Jackson was a quiet contributor for the "Tampa 2" defense. In Super Bowl XXXVII, he intercepted Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon twice in the first half for 34 yards and won the game's MVP.
His interceptions were important, but his two picks only led to three Buccaneer points.
Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks capped off his 2002 Defensive Player of the Year season with a 44-yard pick six. But it was nickel corner Dwight Smith who had a historic game with two interceptions returned for 94 yards and two touchdowns. He's the first player ever to score 2 touchdowns on interception returns in Super Bowl history.
5. Ray Lewis - XXXV
He had a stellar year, but his Super Bowl performance wasn't that impressive.
In 2000, Ray Lewis led a defense which many call the greatest in NFL history for a single season as the Ravens set a 16-game single-season record for fewest points allowed and fewest rushing yards allowed. In Super Bowl XXXV, Baltimore became only the second team to ever record a defensive shutout in a Super Bowl, as they dominated the New York Giants 34-7 and Lewis was named the game's MVP.
Lewis was deservingly the 2000 NFL Defensive Player of the Year but with just three solo tackles, two assisted tackles, and four passes defended in the Super Bowl, its one of the more underwhelming performances. Some of that is because of just how dominant the Baltimore defense was as they intercepted Kerry Collins four times. Return specialist Jermaine Lewis finished the game with 117 return yards, including an 84-yard punt return touchdown.
4. Joe Montana - Super Bowl XVI
"Joe Cool" would finish his career with three Super MVPs, but his first is by far his least noteworthy.
By 1981, Joe Montana had come into his own as a clutch quarterback and becoming the perfect match for Bill Walsh's west coast offense. In Super Bowl XVI, Montana finished 157 passing yards and two total touchdowns.
Joe accounted for both of San Francisco's touchdowns, but they happened so early in the game.
A few 49ers defenders could have easily been named MVP. Cornerback Eric Wright had an interception and forced a fumble while linebacker Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds led one of the greatest goal line stands in NFL history by stopping the Bengals four times.
3. Tom Brady- Super Bowl XXXVI
Like his idol, Tom Brady probably shouldn't have won his first Super Bowl MVP.
In 2001, Brady replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe early in the year and helped the Patriot reach the Super bowl. In the big game, he completed 16 of 27 passes for 145 yards and a score.
Brady may have led the drive to set up the Adam Vinatieri game winning field goal, but his overall stats were that of a game manager. The New England defense really shined throughout the game as the neutralized the Rams high powered offense for the first three quarters. Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour were in Kurt Warner's face for much of the game and cornerback Ty Law beat up on Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce while having a 47-yard pick six to set the tone for the game.
2. Terry Bradshaw - Super Bowl XIV
When you look at the box score, many would say he should not have been Super Bowl MVP.
In 1979, Terry Bradshaw set career highs in pass attempts and passing yards but also set a career high with 25 interceptions. In Super Bowl XIV, he completed 14 of 21 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns while winning his second straight Super Bowl MVP and the fourth championship of the decade for Pittsburgh.
Bradshaw led the Steelers to a comeback, but he can also be blamed for putting Pittsburgh in that situation. In the first half, he threw three interceptions as the Rams led for the first three quarters. Wide receiver John Stallworth should have been the MVP as he had three receptions for 121 yards and a 73-yard touchdown.
1. Joe Namath - Super Bowl III
"Broadway Joe" made the famous guarantee, but his Super Bowl performance wasn't exactly awe inspiring.
Coming into Super Bowl III, the Baltimore Colts had the number one offense and defense in the NFL and were viewed as better than the two Packer teams that won the first two Sun Bowls. While the New York Jets on the other hand were viewed as a weaker team than the two AFL teams that lost those Packer teams. Joe Namath famously made an appearance three days before the Super Bowl at the Miami Touchdown Club and personally guaranteed his team's victory. His team backed up his words by controlling the majority of the game and upsetting the Colts 16-7.
Namath played mistake free, but his stats didn't warrant the MVP. He completed 17 out of 28 passes for 206 yards, but had no touchdowns and didn't throw a pass in the fourth quarter. The Jets defense dominated the Colts intercepting Earl Morrall and Johnny Unitas four times. But running back Matt Snell easily deserved the games MVP as he rushed for 121 yards and scored the Jets only touchdown of the game.