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Defensive Super Bowl MVPs

  • By NFL.com
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History would dictate that the Super Bowl MVP is an award reserved for offensive players, especially quarterbacks (21 times).

But these eight defenders would argue otherwise, as they are the only guys on their side of the ball to win a Super Bowl MVP.





Dexter Jackson, FS, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Super Bowl XXXVII

Dexter Jackson
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
SB XXXVII Statistics
Interceptions: 2
Tackles: 2
Passes defensed: 2

The former Tampa Bay free safety is the most recent defender to win the award, after he intercepted two Rich Gannon passes in the first half of Super Bowl XXXVII -- a Super Bowl record -- as the Buccaneers rolled to a 48-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

Jackson became just the third defensive back in Super Bowl history to win the MVP award, joining Cowboys cornerback Larry Brown (Super Bowl XXX) and Dolphins safety Jake Scott (Super Bowl VII).

The decison to name Jackson MVP was not an easy one, as the Buccaneers intercepted Gannon five times -- twice by Jackson, twice by CB Dwight Smith and once by LB Derrick Brooks.

Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens - Super Bowl XXXV

Ray Lewis
Baltimore Ravens
SB XXXV Statistics
Tackles: 5
Pass defensed: 4

Lewis' stats from Super Bowl XXXV (3 tackles, 2 assists and 4 passes defensed) weren't exactly mind-blowing. The NFL Defensive Player of the Year didn't intercept a pass or return a fumble for a touchdown in the Ravens' 34-7 victory over the Giants.

He was simply recognized as the heart, soul, and leader of perhaps the best defensive unit and performance in Super Bowl history -- one in which Baltimore did not allow a single offensive touchdown. And in accordance with his role, Lewis evoked confidence during his postgame press conference.

"I told Shannon Sharpe and I told Jamal Lewis: Give us 10 points and the game is over," Lewis said. "That's not boasting. If you give us 10 points, game over. You go down against our defense, you're in a whole lot of trouble. We've dominated people like that all year. And they didn't score on us. Make sure you quote that. They didn't score on our defense."

Larry Brown, CB, Dallas Cowboys - Super Bowl XXX

Larry Brown
Dallas Cowboys
SB XXX Statistics
Interceptions: 2
INT Yards: 77

Brown intercepted two passes in the second half of Dallas' 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.

Brown's first interception of Steelers quarterback Neil O'Donnell stalled a third quarter Pittsburgh drive. Brown returned the pick 44 yards to Pittsburgh's 18, which led to a touchdown run by Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith.

Pittsburgh proceeded to score 10 unanswered points and were poised to continue, positioned at their own 32-yard line with 4:15 remaining. But on second down, Brown again intercepted an O'Donnell pass and returned it 33 yards to Pittsburgh's 6. Moments later, Smith scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to seal the victory.

Richard Dent, DE, Chicago Bears - Super Bowl XX

Richard Dent, RB
Chicago Bears
SB XX Statistics
Sacks: 1.5
Forced fumbles: 2

For keying one of the most dominant performances in Super Bowl history, Bears defensive end Richard Dent became only the fifth member of a defense to be named Most Valuable Player. Chicago came into the game perhaps more well-known for their off-field singing, dancing and rapping, but their performance in a 46-10 victory over New England proved they were one of the top championship teams of their time.

Dent's 1½ sacks were part of Chicago's Super Bowl record seven sacks, but he added to his day by forcing two fumbles. The Bears' defense held New England to a record-low 7 yards rushing while also contributing an interception return for a touchdown and a safety.

Randy White, DT and Harvey Martin, DE, Dallas Cowboys - Super Bowl XII

For the first and only time in Super Bowl history, a pair shared the Most Valuable Player honor. Defensive tackle Randy White and defensive end Harvey Martin were the leaders of a Dallas defense that forced eight Denver turnovers in a 27-10 victory over Denver.

The Broncos only managed 8 completions in 25 attempts (Super Bowl low 32.0 percent) under the fierce Cowboy rush, led by White and Martin.

Jake Scott, S, Miami Dolphins - Super Bowl VII


Jake Scott
Miami Dolphins
SB VII Statistics
Interceptions: 2
INT yards 63

Miami's "No-Name Defense" was one of the big reasons the Dolphins became the first unbeaten, untied team in NFL history, posting a perfect 17-0 record. So it was only fitting that one of its members won the Most Valuable Player award in Miami's 14-7 win over Washington in Super Bowl VII.

Scott had two interceptions, including one in the end zone during the fourth quarter that, combined with his 55-yard return, iced the game for the Dolphins.

Chuck Howley, LB, Dallas Cowboys - Super Bowl V

Chuck Howley
Dallas Cowboys
SB V Statistics
Interceptions: 2
INT yards: 22
Fmb rec: 1

Howley became the first defensive player to be named Most Valuable Player in a Super Bowl. But the honor had a hollow ring for the Cowboys linebacker, who also became the first player from a losing team to be named MVP.

The Cowboys lost to the Colts 16-13 as rookie Jim O'Brien made a 32-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to win the game. Howley intercepted two passes and receovered a fumble to win the honor, although his effort was overshadowed by Baltimore's eventual win.

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