by Ray Kuhn
The Super Bowl is a spectacle. It brings people together and creates debate. Not only is there enough to debate surrounding the game itself this season, there is always debates as we look back at the game’s history.
With that being said, here is my humble opinion on the Top 5 Super Bowl MVP’s. By no means are these the best five players to ever win the award, or even the best performances ever in the Super Bowl. Of course I am sure that this list will be easy to disagree with. This list is meant to inspire thought and debate.
5) Joe Namath, New York Jets, Super Bowl III
If there were ever a ranking about intangibles, this would be it. Namath only passed for 206 yards and did not throw a touchdown, but he did something that transcends statistics. He led an AFL team to victory in the Super Bowl over the Colts from the big, bad, NFL. Of course there was the guarantee, despite the fact that the Jets were huge underdogs, but Namath did much more than generate media hype. He took the focus away from the team and placed it on himself.
Granted he did not pass for a touchdown and the Jets defense held the Colts offense down, but Namath didn’t succumb to the pressure. He did not make any mistakes to cost his team the game and was the ultimate game manager. Statistically his performance was nothing special, but he led his team to victory in a game nobody thought they had a chance to win. Question this all you want, as much better players were left off the list, but his performance went beyond what happened on the field during the game.
4) Marcus Allen, Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl XVIII
This game was a clear blowout as the Raiders beat the Redskins 38-9, and Allen played a large part in it. Allen had what was easily the biggest play in the game, a 74 yard touchdown run, but he still had a pretty good rushing day finding the end zone one more time and gaining another 117 yards on 19 carries. Both touchdowns came in the critical third quarter ensuring that Redskins would not have the opportunity to get back into the game. His first touchdown came at the end of a 70 yard drive by the Raiders and then his 74 yard burst iced things. By averaging a little over 6 yards a carry, excluding his big touchdown, Allen kept the chains moving the whole game for Los Angeles and ensured that they were in control and ultimately that there would be no doubt in the final outcome.
3) Phil Simms, New York Giants, Super Bowl XXI
Simms played perhaps the most perfect game a quarterback could play on the biggest stage. He was 22-25 passing for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns. Simms maintained a high level of confidence throughout the game and simply did not make any mistakes. At the start of the third quarter the Giants trailed Denver 10-9, but then Simms made sure the outcome of the game would be in New York’s favor. He led a 63 yard touchdown drive out of the gate for the Giants, proceeded to throw 10 straight completions and then iced the game with his third touchdown pass to Phil McConkey. Simms did not try to do too much, and in turn not only did he manage the game, but he won the game for the Giants.
2) Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers, XXIX
This is a game in which the Chargers never had a chance. Proving that he was able to live up to Joe Montana’s past, Young had a banner day throwing for 6 touchdown passes and 325 yards. Young wasted no time asserting himself as being in control as he threw his first touchdown pass less then 2 minutes into the game as he found Jerry Rice for a 44 yard score. If the Chargers thought that they would have a chance to recover, that was quickly erased as the second 49ers possession saw Young connect with Ricky Watters on a 51 yard score that quickly pushed all the momentum in San Francisco’s favor. Young then threw for 4 more touchdowns and left no doubt that he was up to the task of being a Super Bowl quarterback.
1) Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, XXIII
It would be an understatement to say how hard it is to pick which Super Bowl performance was more dominate by the 49ers of this era. Both Rice and Montana are clearly deserving of making an appearance in this list and a lot their performances should be tied to each other. In my mind this performance does stand out a little more than the others. Rice had 11 catches for 215 yards, including 3 catches on the game winning drive and, most importantly, the game winning touchdown. This game really was the Jerry Rice show as he was simply unstoppable.
What do you think? How far off base was I with this list? Let’s hear your opinions.
Make sure to check out our other Super Bowl rankings:
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