Super Bowl MVP Trends: Quarterback a Popular Pick

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Posted on: February 2, 2023, 04:45h. 

Last updated on: February 2, 2023, 05:44h.

If you can predict the Super Bowl champion, the quarterback on the winning team claims the Most Valuable Player more than half the time. A quarterback was named the Super Bowl MVP more than any other position, which occurred 31 times over the last 56 years.

Super Bowl MVP Trends Quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes Chiefs quarterback wide receiver receivers
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes became the youngest MVP winner in Super Bowl history when the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl LIV in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Image: Getty)

Heading into Super Bowl LVII, quarterbacks Jalen Hurts from the Philadelphia Eagles and Patrick Mahomes from the Kansas City Chiefs are the betting favorites to win the MVP this year. According to DraftKings, Hurts is the slight MVP favorite at +125 odds over Mahomes at +130 odds.

Position Super Bowl MVP Wins
Quarterback 31
Wide Receiver 8
Running Back 7
Linebacker 4
Defensive End 2
Safety 2
Defensive Tackle 1
Cornerback 1
Kick Returner 1

The NFL is a pass-happy league, so it’s no surprise that either a quarterback or wide receiver was awarded the MVP at least 16 times over the previous 18 Super Bowls.

Quarterbacks Reign Supreme at Super Bowl

Quarterbacks won the MVP at least 55% of the time. There’s a unique trend where quarterbacks win the MVP — or don’t — in bunches.

During the game’s infancy, the quarterback won the MVP in the first four Super Bowls. Recipients included Bart Starr (twice), Joe Namath, and Len Dawson. Over the next eight Super Bowls, a quarterback only won the award once in the 1970s.

Between Super Bowl XII and XXVII, a quarterback won the MVP 10 times in 15 years. Joe Montana from the San Francisco 49ers snagged the MVP three times during that era.

Between the 1994 and the 2006 seasons, a position player that wasn’t a quarterback won the MVP eight times, and a quarterback won it five times. Since then, a quarterback won the MVP 11 times in the last 16 Super Bowls.

Running Back Winning the MVP?

The NFL changed its offensive philosophy over the last two decades. Running backs were once the most feared player on the field. However, defenses improved at stopping running backs, and the league has morphed into a pass-first, high-scoring league.

Running backs won the MVP seven times, and they’re ranked third among all position players at the Super Bowl. Between the 1974 and 1984 seasons, running backs won the Super Bowl MVP four times, including Larry Csonka, Franco Harris, John Riggins, and Marcus Allen.

A running back hasn’t won a Super Bowl MVP in this century. Terrell Davis from the Denver Broncos was the last running back to win the MVP at Super Bowl XXXII.

Miles Sanders from the Eagles is the highest running back, and fifth overall, on the Super Bowl LVII MVP board at +2200 odds.

The Chiefs utilize a running back by committee between Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon. But they’re not much of a running team. Pacheco is +3500 odds, while McKinnon is +5000 odds to win the MVP.

Wide Receivers Getting Lots of Recent MVP Love

Aside from quarterbacks, wide receivers won the second-most Bowl MVP awards with eight wins. Since Super Bowl XXXIX, a wide receiver was the MVP in the Super Bowl five times over the last 18 years. They have two wins in the last four years.

Cooper Kupp from the Los Angeles Rams was the MVP of Super Bowl LVI. He had the shortest MVP odds in recent history as the third favorite on the board at +600, behind teammate Matthew Stafford, and Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow.

AJ Brown from the Eagles is the highest wide receiver on the board this year at +1000 odds. Devonta Smith from the Eagles is +2500 odds.

Heading into the Super Bowl, the Chiefs have three injured wide receivers. A healthy Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the Chiefs’ highest-ranked wide receiver at +6000 odds.

Defensive MVP: Harrison Reddick or Chris Jones?

A defensive player won the MVP 10 times in Super Bowl history. Linebackers lead all defenders with four MVP wins. A defensive end and safety each won the MVP twice. A cornerback and defensive tackle won the MVP once each.

Harrison Reddick, a linebacker from the Eagles, is the top defender on the Super Bowl LVII MVP board at +3500 odds.

Chris Jones, a defensive tackle from the Chiefs, had a sensational game in the AFC championship against the Cincinnati Bengals. Jones is the top defender from the Chiefs on the MVP board at +4000 odds.

A defensive player won the MVP twice over the last decade, and both times a linebacker stood on the podium to accept the award.

Von Miller from the Denver Broncos was the last defensive player to win the MVP back in Super Bowl L. The Broncos held the Carolina Panthers to just 10 points, and Miller dominated the Panthers with 11 sacks and four forced fumbles.

In Super Bowl XLVIII, Malcolm Smith from the Seattle Seahawks claimed the MVP award in a 43-8 blowout against the Denver Broncos. Smith scored a touchdown on a rare pick-six from Peyton Manning. He also recovered one fumble and recorded nine sacks against Manning.

Chuck Howley from the Dallas Cowboys was the first defensive player to win the MVP back in Super Bowl V. Ray Lewis from the Baltimore Ravens was the second linebacker to win the MVP during a sensational performance in Super Bowl XXXV.

Tight End or Kicker Never Won the MVP

Out of the previous 56 Super Bowls, a tight end or kicker has never claimed the MVP award. This could be the year that a tight end finally gets recognized.

Travis Kelce from the Kansas City Chiefs is listed as a tight end, but he’s the #1 target for Mahomes. Kelce plays more like a wide receiver who blocks defenders. But he’s the Chiefs’ primary offensive weapon from the tight end position.

Kelce is +1000 odds to win the MVP at Super Bowl LVII, and he’s the third-highest player on the board trailing both quarterbacks. Tight end Dallas Goedert from the Eagles is +6000 odds to win the MVP.

Kickers can often make or break a team in the postseason, yet a kicker has never been recognized as the MVP in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs’ Harrison Butker missed time earlier in the season with an ankle injury, but he bounced back. Jake Elliot of the Eagles joins Butker at the bottom of the MVP board, and both are at +25000 odds to become the first kicker to win the MVP.

A player on special teams has only won the MVP once, when Desmond Howard from the Green Bay Packers won the MVP as a kick returner in Super Bowl XXXI. Howard set a record at the time with a 99-yard return for a touchdown. He tallied 154 kickoff yards and added 90 more yards as a punt returner.

QBs the Only Multiple MVP Winners

Mahomes was the MVP of Super Bowl LIV, so he’s seeking a second MVP. If he can pull off another MVP in Super Bowl LVII, then he’ll join an exclusive club. Only five players won the Super Bowl MVP multiple times, and all five were quarterbacks.

Tom Brady won the Super Bowl seven times, and he locked up the MVP in five of those victories. Brady, who finally retired after this season, holds the record for most Super Bowl MVP awards.

The legendary Joe Montana won the Super Bowl three times with the San Francisco 49ers.

Bart Starr from the Green Bay Packers, Terry Bradshaw from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Eli Manning from the New York Giants each won the MVP twice.


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