When it comes to predicting the MVP of the Super Bowl, picking a quarterback is a fairly safe bet. 21 of the 41 Super Bowl MVP's have been quarterbacks, the most of any position. Tom Brady has two Cadillacs sitting in his garage thanks to the award (OK, maybe one -- He donated the second one to his high school in San Mateo, Calif.), but for all of you expecting the Patriots quarterback to run away with his third Super Bowl MVP, here are five previous winners that few could have forecasted.
While the The former Heisman Trophy winner never really lived up to his potential as a wide receiver, Howard made his mark in Super Bowl lore by single-handedly putting a stop to New England's comeback in Super Bowl XXXI with a Super Bowl record 244 total return yards, including a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Patriots RB Curtis Martin brought New England within 27-21 with an 18-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, but Howard immediately answered, taking Adam Vinatieri's kickoff the distance for the game's final score.
Ironically, Howard didn't think he had a chance at winning the MVP. "I really didn't expect them to be kicking the ball that much," he said.
Another clutch performance by Tom Brady appeared worthy of a third MVP award for the quarterback, but voters may have been swayed by the weight of history. Branch led all receivers with 11 receptions for 133 yards. His 11th catch in the third quarter tied him with Jerry Rice and Dan Ross for the most receptions in a single Super Bowl. It also gave him a combined 21 receptions in two Super Bowls, setting another record.
Namath might have won the Most Valuable Player award without even throwing a pass. His "guarantee" of victory -- and his determined leadership to back up his boast -- cemented the reputation of the AFL and excited football fans around the country. The upstart Jets of the AFL defeated the Baltimore Colts of the NFL 16-7 in one of the biggest upsets in sports history. Completing 17-of-28 passes for 206 yards, Namath directed a Jets attack that rolled up 337 yards of total offense.
Namath's famous run off the field after the game, his index finger waving to let the world know who was "No. 1," is one of the enduring images of the Super Bowl.
[Fred Biletnikoff](../players/ ladainiantomlinson/profile?id=BIL355962)
SB XI Statistics
Rush yds: 1,474
Eye-black blazing and wristbands flashing, Biletnikoff helped Oakland win its first NFL title with a 32-14 victory over Minnesota. Biletnikoff's numbers that day (4 receptions, 79 yards) may have been relatively pedestrian (considering that RB Clarence Davis recorded 137 yards rushing on 16 attempts and QB Ken Stabler went 12-of-19 for 180 yards and 1 touchdown), but three of his four catches set up all three of Oakland's offensive touchdowns.