Top Super Bowl MVPs and Their Career Achievements

Top Super Bowl MVPs and Their Career Achievements

The Super Bowl is the undoubted pinnacle of the sporting calendar, with top Super Bowl MVPs being its biggest stars. For them, the trip to the biggest game is made all the more memorable by being granted the coveted title, affording them access to the most exclusive of clubs for true sporting royalty.

The Super Bowl MVP acknowledges the best player in the Super Bowl only. Any winner of the award has tangible proof of their ability to produce their best when it truly mattered most. The winners of this very award are the subject of this guide.

In this article, we look at the winners of the Super Bowl MVP and examine the type of players most likely to win this prestigious award. We’ll also look into the six outstanding players who have managed to get it multiple times. Let’s dive in.

Key Facts About the Super Bowl MVP Award

Not to be confused with the award of the NFL’s Most Valuable Player and AP’s NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award (which tracks the most outstanding player over the course of the NFL’s regular season), Super Bowl MVPs are vital to the key points of the championship-deciding game. Sometimes, their moments of brilliance prove just as memorable as the game itself.

They can also mean the difference between a win and a loss. For this reason, every year, the NFL bestows the Super Bowl MVP award upon the player deemed the outstanding individual on the field in that particular Super Bowl.

Some of the greatest American Football players have been honored with this award. In its 58-year history, there have been 47 separate winners. Although the prize was awarded on 59 separate occasions, there are six players who have won it more than once, amounting to 10% of all awards.

Teams With the Most MVPs

Super Bowl Teams with the Most MVPs
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The team that produced the most Super Bowl MVPs (seven in total) is the Dallas Cowboys. They’re closely followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots, who have each had one of their players receive the award on six separate occasions.

Winners by Position

Super Bowl MVP Winner by Position
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Out of the 59 Super Bowl MVP winners, 32 (56.9%) were quarterbacks. This statistic is a testament to the fact that quarterbacks are considered the most important players on the field, playing in the most challenging position. This makes them integral to a team’s overall success.

It also reflects that winning a Super Bowl requires effective play from the quarterback position, as has been proven by recent greats and MVP winners Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

That’s not to say, though, that the quarterbacks are the only players who can get the MVP award. As you can see from the infographic, there are 26 winners of the award who didn’t play quarterback.

Most of them played offensive positions, including 8 wide receivers and 7 running backs. The other 10 played defensive positions: 3 defensive linemen, 4 linebackers, and 3 defensive backs.

Special MVP Awards

Special Teams Play

In the Super Bowl MVP award’s history, only once has it been bestowed upon somebody for special team play. In Super Bowl XXXI in 1996, Desmond Howard of the Green Bay Packers was named the game’s MVP after breaking the Super Bowl record for longest kick return with a 99-yard return for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The Packers eventually defeated the New England Patriots 35-21 to earn the right to take the Lombardi Trophy back to Lambeau Field, Wisconsin.

Two Players

There’s only been one occasion on which the Super Bowl MVP award was awarded to two players rather than one. This was Super Bowl XII in 1978 when defensive linemen Harvey Martin and Randy White for the Dallas Cowboys shared the award after their team defeated the Denver Broncos 27-10 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

Multi-time Winners of the Super Bowl MVP Award

Most Super Bowl MVP Awards
Credit: Statista

Of those players to win the Super Bowl MVP award, there are six who have done so on more than one occasion. Three players have earned the award twice, with another two having managed to win it three times.

However, one player stands alone as the winner of the most Super Bowl MVP awards in NFL history, having earned five such titles over the course of his illustrious Hall of Fame career. Let’s take a closer look at these masters.

Two-Time Winners

Bart Starr

Let’s kick off with a look back at the career of one of the unquestioned “Starrs” of the NFL. As the field general for the Green Bay Packers’ most successful period, quarterback Bart Starr led his team to victory in the first-ever Super Bowl in 1967, earning the inaugural Super Bowl MVP award in the process.

Starr’s standout performance saw him pass for 250 yards and toss two passing touchdowns – impressive numbers in the run-centric NFL of Starr’s era.

The following year, Starr would cement his legacy by repeating the trick. Not only did he lead the Green Bay Packers to another victory by 33-14 over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl II, but he also once again earned the Super Bowl MVP title as he threw for 202 yards and a touchdown.

Known as one of the top quarterbacks of his generation, Starr enjoyed a 16-year career in the NFL, spent entirely with the Green Bay Packers. He’s widely considered one of the integral figures in building one of the NFL’s most enduring franchises.

Terry Bradshaw

Pittsburgh Steelers passing leaders
Credit: Statista

Terry Bradshaw’s pro career didn’t have the greatest start. His early games caused some doubts as to whether he’d ever lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to the kind of success his team had envisaged upon choosing him to be the face of their franchise.

Over time, however, he developed into one of Pittsburgh’s most dependable offensive players, a symbol of what it meant to be a quarterback in the 70’s and 80’s. Alongside star receivers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, Bradshaw formed the backbone of the Steelers’ aerial attack for fourteen years.

In that span, Bradshaw took his team to four winning Super Bowls over a six-year period (1974, 1975, 1978, and 1979). That meant that he became the first quarterback to win four Super Bowls.

In two of these – Super Bowls XIII and XIV – Bradshaw was named the Super Bowl MVP. The first saw Pittsburgh overcome the Dallas Cowboys by 35-31, with Bradshaw posting 318 yards and throwing for four touchdowns.

The second came in the Steelers’ 31-19 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, sparked by Bradshaw’s 309 passing yards and two touchdown passes.

After his retirement, Bradshaw remained in and around football as he pursued a career in television. To this day, he can be seen on FOX broadcasts, where he’s ever-popular thanks to his affable personality and key insights.

Eli Manning

Despite being a star quarterback in his own right, Eli Manning spent a lot of his career in the shadow of his older brother, Peyton Manning, winner of the Super Bowl MVP award in Super Bowl XLI.

Nevertheless, as the winner of two Super Bowl MVP awards, there’s at least one respect in which Eli can undoubtedly claim supremacy over his elder sibling.

Manning’s career didn’t get off to a promising start. After being selected by the San Diego Chargers, Eli made it clear he had no intention of playing for a team that at the time, was one of the worst in the league. This led to him being traded to the New York Giants, with which he spent his entire career and enjoyed substantial success.

Manning is best remembered for leading the Giants on two unexpected runs to the Super Bowl, in which they overcame the New England Patriots.

Thus began his rivalry with Tom Brady, which became one of the most iconic rivalries in American football. In becoming one of only two people to quarterback teams that overcame Brady’s Patriots in the Super Bowl, Manning secured the undying admiration of many NFL fans.

First MVP

Manning’s play at Super Bowl XLII, where the Patriots were the clear favorites, is probably the most memorable. In a back-and-forth contest, Manning led the Giants on an all-important drive which culminated in a touchdown pass to receiver Plaxico Burress, affording the Giants a 17-14 lead.

This drive, and maybe even the game itself, is best remembered for the play made by Manning and David Tyree. The quarterback wriggled free of the arms of Patriots defenders Jarvis Green and Richard Seymour to lob a pass 32 yards downfield which Tyree only clung on to by pinning the ball against the top of his helmet.

For his performance, in which he passed for 255 yards and two touchdowns, Manning earned the first of his Super Bowl MVP awards.

Second MVP

The second MVP award came four years later at Super Bowl XLVI. Once again, Manning and the Giants were unstoppable, with him passing for 296 yards and a touchdown whilst leading the Giants to a 21-17 victory.

The standout play of the game once again involved an improbable pass from Manning, this time to receiver Mario Manningham, who somehow managed to walk a tightrope along the sideline to haul in a game-changing pass.

These days, Eli can be found hosting ESPN2’s ‘Manningcast’ alongside his brother Peyton. Together, they make one of the most recognizable teams in sports broadcasting.

Three-Time Winners

Joe Montana

San Francisco 49ers Passing Leaders
Credit: Statista

The quarterback Joe Montana (Joe Cool) was selected in the third round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers and hasn’t looked back. He spent the last two years of his career playing with the Chiefs.

Over the course of his time in the Bay Area, he led the 49ers to four Super Bowls, winning the Super Bowl MVP award in three of those.

First MVP

The first MVP award came at the end of Montana’s first season as San Francisco’s full-time starting quarterback in Super Bowl XVI.

In the 49ers’ 26-21 victory over Cincinnati Bengals, led by the league MVP of the 1980 season Ken Anderson, Montana passed for 157 yards and a touchdown on his way to his first Super Bowl MVP award and the 49ers’ first-ever championship.

Second MVP

Montana’s second Super Bowl MVP award came three years later, in Super Bowl XIX. Once again, the 49ers faced off against a powerhouse team – this time, their rivals were the Miami Dolphins.

Yet the final score left little doubt as to the better team, with the 49ers seeing off Miami in resounding fashion, with a final score of 38-16.

Montana’s 331-yard and three-touchdown performance were integral to him earning Super Bowl MVP honors for the second time.

Third MVP

Five years later, Montana would earn his third and final Super Bowl MVP award in Super Bowl XXIV. This time, it was the Denver Broncos and superstar John Elway standing in the 49ers’ way.

The result, however, made the game the most lopsided match in Super Bowl history. On the back of Montana’s 297-yards gained and five-touchdown passing performance, the 49ers trounced Denver 55-10.

To this day, Joe Montanta’s impact on the league is tremendous. He’s rated one of the best quarterbacks of all time, with his pinpoint accuracy, unshakable calm in the heat of battle, and overall command of the position.

Patrick Mahomes

Most Popular NFL Players among 18-29 year olds in the USA
Credit: Statista

In his relatively short career to date, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has already accomplished a lot on his way to becoming the face of the modern NFL.

In addition to winning two Super Bowls and two league MVP awards and compiling a Hall of Fame caliber resume before hitting the age of thirty, Mahomes has already been named Super Bowl MVP three times.

First MVP

Upon assuming the starting job on a full-time basis ahead of the 2018 NFL season, Mahomes became an instant star by authoring a season for the ages, in which he compiled 5097 passing yards and 50 touchdowns whilst winning his first league MVP award.

Despite the Chiefs falling short in the playoffs that year, Mahomes led his team to the big game the very next year, in which Kansas City overcame the San Francisco 49ers by 31-20, with the quarterback’s performance earning him his first Super Bowl MVP award.

Second MVP

Three years later, Mahomes did it again by leading the Kansas City Chiefs to victory once more in Super Bowl LVII. This time, Mahomes passed for 182 yards and lobbed three passing touchdowns as the Chiefs destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles with a final score of 38-35.

For his efforts, Mahomes was given his second Super Bowl MVP award.

Third MVP

The very next year, Mahomes repeated the trick in Super Bowl LVIII as he led the Chiefs to an overtime victory over the 49ers once more, throwing the touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman, which sealed a 25-22 victory for the Chiefs.

In doing so, not only did they secure back-to-back titles, but Mahomes also secured back-to-back Super Bowl MVP awards for his 333 passing yards and two touchdown performance.

With so much already accomplished yet so much still ahead of him, a great portion of the story of Patrick Mahomes’ career has yet to be written. Undoubtedly though, the young man has a promising future and likely a place in the list of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

The question in the minds of many is not whether he’ll win a Super Bowl MVP award again but how many more times he’ll do so.

Five-Time Winner

Tom Brady

Most Super Bowl titles won
Credit: Statista

For many of our readers, the player with the most Super Bowl MVPs won’t be a surprise.

In most sports, there’s typically a debate as to who should be called the greatest ever to play it. But American football is something of an exception to this today. There’s arguably little debate to be had about who is the ‘G.O.A.T’ (Greatest of All Time) – almost without question, that distinction now belongs firmly to Tom Brady.

Brady got a big chance to show his skills during the 2001 season, his second in the NFL when he replaced Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe. From there, he never looked back, going on to break several of the NFL’s records for all-time passing statistics over the course of his long career.

Not only that, but he’s also considered to be the most integral piece of the New England Patriots dynasty of the 2000s and 2010s, leading them to the Super Bowl on nine occasions and to victory in six of those. Brady won the Super Bowl MVP award five times.

First MVP
Super Bowl MVP Winners with the most passing yards
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Brady’s inaugural title and Super Bowl MVP award came in his first year as a starter. In Super Bowl XXXVI, Brady faced off against the St Louis Rams, whose quarterback Kurt Warner is known for his own fairytale ascent to stardom. Nevertheless, the Patriots quarterback’s 145 passing yards and one touchdown performance helped lead them to a 20-17 victory.

Second MVP

Brady’s second Super Bowl MVP award came only two years later, at Super Bowl XXXVIII. His support helped his team emerge as a victor once more in a 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Whilst the Patriots ultimately owed their triumph to a last-second field goal from Adam Vinatieri, Brady’s 354-yard and three-touchdown passing performance was enough to earn him his second Super Bowl MVP.

Third MVP

Tom Brady Meme

However, Brady would have to wait another sixteen years before his next award. By then, age was nothing but a number to him. His remarkable performance into his late thirties made longevity his trademark.

Super Bowl XLIX, when Brady was required to use all his experience to lead the Patriots to a 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, is a shining example of that.

While the most memorable play was Malcolm Butler’s interception on the goal line with only seconds left on the clock, Brady’s 328-yard and four-touchdown performance earned him his third Super Bowl MVP award.

Fourth MVP

Brady’s most famous Super Bowl win in Super Bowl LI, which saw the Patriots overcome the Atlanta Falcons 34-28, earned him his fourth Super Bowl MVP award.

After entering the fourth quarter with a 28-3 deficit to overcome, Brady led the Patriots on a furious comeback to tie the game at 28-28 and take the game to the Super Bowl’s very first overtime. His 466-yard and two-touchdown performance cemented his reputation as the “comeback king.”

Fifth MVP

When Brady won his fifth and final Super Bowl MVP award at Super Bowl LV, he was 43 and quarterbacking a new team: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his first season in Florida, Brady proved he still had the talent and drive to lead a championship team.

That year, the Buccaneers dealt Patrick Mahomes his first Super Bowl loss by routing the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9. With his 201-yard and three touchdown performance, Brady became the oldest player to win the Super Bowl MVP award.

A truly generational player, Tom Brady is one of the most iconic athletes of all time. To date, nobody’s been able to beat his records. After his retirement, Brady changed the league, just as he changed it upon taking the field at Gillette Stadium for the first time back in 2001 – it’ll never be the same without him.

Who Are The MVPs of Losing Super Bowl Teams?

In nearly sixty years of the Super Bowl, there’s been only one Super Bowl MVP who was on a losing team. Chuck Howley of the Dallas Cowboys got the award after Super Bowl V – a game famously marred with errors and poor gameplay.

But despite the Cowboys’ 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Colts, Howley was awarded the Super Bowl MVP after picking off two Colts passes. Thankfully, he lived to see the day when he got inducted into the Hall of Fame in the summer of 2023.

Final Thoughts

All sports have their legends with lasting legacies. In this guide, we got a glimpse of some of the most legendary American football players, marked with a distinguished honor more than once.

There have only been six of those to date – but that’s not to say that it will always be so. We at TechReport are already looking forward to Super Bowl LIX and seeing the most valuable player emerge – whether it’s a brand-new talent or one of the existing ones.

Sources

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