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Worst Super Bowl MVPs of All Time

You think “Super Bowl MVP” and what do you remember?

Yes, they won the award but were they the right choice?

A magical performance on pro football’s biggest stage. The superstars that shine under the pressure and deliver.

Joe Montana in XXIV throwing five touchdowns in a rout of Denver or Bart Starr guiding the Packers in the first two Super Bowls among others spring to mind.

But honestly, there are some MVP selections that leave fans scratching their heads, question the selection or become forgettable in the annals of time.

With Sunday being Super Bowl LIV I thought it would be fun to do a historical list involving the “big game”. So I’ve selected a few MVPs who I feel in their selection as the player of the game are questionable.

The following players weren’t bad by any means but not everyone can have legendary performances like Franco Harris or Tom Brady.

Honorable mentions:

Jake Scott-VII: It should have gone to fellow defensemen, Nick Buoniconti or Manny Fernandez.

Dexter Jackson-XXXVII: Jackson and teammate Dwight Smith both had two interceptions. Except Smith ran both of his back for touchdowns and had three times as much interception return yardage as Jackson.

Terry Bradshaw-XIV: Bradshaw usually shined in the postseason but this MVP threw three interceptions. Kick return specialist Larry Anderson or wideout John Stallworth should have got the nod.

Larry Brown- XXX

The Cowboys were in the midst of a dynasty. After winning Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII Dallas solidified their position as the team of the 90’s with a win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX.

Cornerback Larry Brown had been a staple on the Cowboys defense. He started most of his days in Dallas but never stayed on the field full time due to inconsistency. But for Brown 1995 was a banner year.

He had a career-high six interceptions (returning two for touchdowns) and had a key pick in the NFC championship game versus Green Bay.

In Super Bowl XXX he picked off Steeler quarterback Neil O’Donnell twice in a 27-17 win. Now you may think, “why is Brown a bad choice?”. Well, it’s a combination of things.

Super Bowl
Neil O’Donnell pictured here in Super Bowl XXX.

First off I don’t know who Neil O’Donnell was throwing too. His passes were so off the mark this coworker of mine (who is a Steelers fan) thinks he threw the game for a big payday from the mob.


Raiders owner Al Davis loved Larry Brown’s performance so much he signed him in the offseason to a massive five year-12.5 million dollar contract. Brown would only start one game in the next three seasons. But hey, he got paid.

I would have chosen a member of the Dallas defensive line for the MVP. They put the pressure on O’Donnell and made him make more bad decisions than I did in college.

Chuck Howley-V

Let’s stay with Dallas and go all the way back to 1970.

Now let me start off by saying Chuck Howley was a beast. My pops told me he played like a damn madman. The first-round pick played from 1958-1973 made six Pro Bowls and was one of the first Cowboy superstars. The reason I picked Howley was the game itself.

Super Bowl V pitted the Baltimore Colts, in the twilight of their dynasty of sorts versus the upstart Dallas Cowboys. But the game itself was bad.

Both teams combined for 11 turnovers in one of the worst Super Bowls ever. Baltimore won on a last-second field goal 16-13 but the game was so bad the MVP was from the losing team. It was so bad Colts defensive lineman (later turned actor) Bubba Smith refused to wear his Super Bowl ring because of the bad performance.

Jim O’Brien (80) kicked the winning field goal against Dallas. After the game, Cowboys coach Tom Landry promptly told the Colts kicker to, “get a haircut, hippie”.

It’s actually hilarious that a player on a losing team was chosen to be MVP so maybe this selection is a testament to how bad this Super Bowl really was.

Jim Plunkett-XV

This is an iffy entry, even for a list like this.

Jim Plunkett was only the second Heisman winner to win the MVP of the Super Bowl (Roger Staubach was the first). But his journey to the top of the NFL mountain was rough.

Plunkett was drafted #1 overall in the 1970 draft by the Patriots. He only won 23 games and threw 87 interceptions in five seasons with New England. After a forgettable two-year stint in San Fran Jimmy P headed to Oakland where he finally lived up to his college billing.

In Super Bowl XV against Philadelphia, he led the Raiders to a 27-10 victory. Plunkett went 13/21 261 and three touchdowns but to me, he didn’t have the most impressive performance.

That would go to Rod Martin.

The linebacker collected a championship game record three interceptions. The Raider defense as a “black” whole harassed Ron Jarowski and the Eagle offense all day. Philly looked unprepared and nervous the entire game and the “Polish Rifle” was shooting blanks that evening.

Super Bowl
Barber- “What can I do for ya?”
Jaws- “You remember Hamlet?”
Barber- “Say no more fam.”

Jaworski threw the aforementioned three picks and fumbled once. The Eagles were also held to 69 yards.

Plunkett shined that day but without Martin and the Raiders D he wouldn’t have been able to.

Richard Dent-XX

A couple of years ago I spent a Saturday night watching this game on YouTube.

Not since Robocop had I see such gratuitous 80’s violence.

For all of you baby infants too young to remember the 1985 Bears lemme give you a refresher.

The Bears of the time were a gestalt of sorts. A team built by Coach Mike Ditka and a defense installed by the “46 defense” granddaddy Buddy Ryan. No cog of that defense greater than the other. A multiheaded monster whose only competition was themselves.

At 15-1 they entered the 1985 playoffs with a goal in mind. Destroy. They shut out the Giants and Rams en route to a Suoer Bowl meeting with the Patriots.

It was no contest.

The Bears promptly dismantled New England 46-10 in a beat down.

Much like my relationship with my baby’s mother the game was slow, agonizing and painful.

The Bears set Super Bowl records for most sacks (7), rushing yards allowed (7) and margin of victory (36). In addition, they had five fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

It was so bad I think the Pats’ starting quarterback retired during the damn game.

Defensive lineman Richard Dent was selected as the game’s MVP. He did have a high caliber game: 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. But to me, the whole defense should have been given the MVP award.

Super Bowl
Despite nursing a bruised ass quarterback Jim McMahon rushed for two scores in Super Bowl XX.

Much like how they carried both Ditka and Ryan off the field the emphasis on the defense should have warranted the award to the entire defense.

Follow me on Twitter for more great content @vidal_espinoza.

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