Super Bowl LIV is full of big-name players, with stars like Patrick Mahomes, Richard Sherman, Travis Kelce and Jimmy Garoppolo predicted to put on a show. But, when looking back on the last decade of Super Bowls, there are plenty of unheralded players who made waves, especially at the running back position.
10) James Starks, Green Bay Packers -- Super Bowl XLV
Game stats: 11 carries, 52 yards.
A sixth-round draft pick in 2010, Starks wasn't even active until November and finished the regular season with 29 carries, 101 rush yards and zero TDs in three games. Then the postseason came. Starks started all four postseason contests, providing the Packers with a healthy rushing attack to pair with Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. Starks helped the sixth-seeded Pack get to -- and win -- Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers, averaging 4.7 yards per carry on football's biggest stage.
9) LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles -- Super Bowl LII
Game stats: 14 carries, 90 yards, 1 TD.
Prior to joining the Eagles in 2017, Blount won two -- count 'em, TWO -- Super Bowls with the New England Patriots. Then he turned around and beat his former team to get a third ring. No running back has played in more Super Bowls in the last decade than Blount. In Super Bowl LII, the downhill bruiser led all running backs with 90 rush yards and averaged a whopping 6.4 yards per carry. If the Patriots ever wondered if they should have re-signed Blount for one more season after he rushed for a career-high 1,161 yards and 18 TDs in 2016, I think they realized the answer when they flew home from Minneapolis with an L.
8) Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants -- Super Bowl XLVI
Game stats: 17 carries, 72 yards, 1 TD; 2 receptions, 19 yards.
Bradshaw scored the final touchdown of Super Bowl XLVI, a 6-yard run that gave the Giants a 21-17 lead with 57 seconds left in the game. Ironically, Bradshaw, who was the game's leading rusher, wasn't supposed to score on the play because 57 seconds seemed like far too much time for Tom Brady and the Patriots to orchestrate a game-winning drive. Well, Bradshaw's score and a strong defensive performance from the Giants to stall the Pats led to Big Blue's second Super Bowl win in five seasons.
7) Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons -- Super Bowl LI
Game stats: 11 carries, 75 yards, 1 TD; 2 receptions, 46 yards.
The Falcons had one of the most potent offenses in the regular season and postseason leading up to Super Bowl LI. And until early in the third quarter, Atlanta put together a full team effort to build a 25-point lead over the Patriots, started by Freeman's 5-yard TD run to open the scoring less than three minutes into the game. Freeman was nearly unstoppable every time he got the ball, averaging 9.3 scrimmage yards per touch.
6) Sony Michel, New England Patriots -- Super Bowl LIII
Game stats: 18 carries, 94 yards, 1 TD.
Coming into this contest, the spotlighted running back stood on the opposite sideline in Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams. Gurley had been the focal point of Sean McVay's explosive offense for most of the regular season. But Michel deserves credit for his output in the playoffs, setting multiple postseason records. In a defensive Super Bowl contest, Michel scored the game's only touchdown -- a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter -- and helped the Patriots eat up the clock down the stretch to secure the franchise's sixth Lombardi Trophy.
5) Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers -- Super Bowl XLVII
Game stats: 19 carries, 110 yards, 1 TD.
The 49ers' rushing attack, led by Gore and quarterback Colin Kaepernick, gashed the Ravens for 182 yards in Super Bowl XLVII. Gore outshined Ravens back Ray Rice in this game and did everything he could, spurring a second-half rally, in an effort to nab San Francisco's sixth title. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite enough.
4) Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles -- Super Bowl LII
Game stats: 3 carries, 8 yards; 4 receptions, 100 yards, 1 TD.
Clement was the unsung hero in this game for the Eagles. He was their receiving yards leader -- with catches of 16, 55, 22 and 7 yards -- helping the Eagles go blow for blow with Tom Brady and Co. Did I mention Clement was a rookie? Well he was -- and coming into this game, he had logged 162 total receiving yards that season (including playoffs). He picked the right time to step up.
3) C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos -- Super Bowl 50
Game stats: 23 carries, 90 yards, 1 TD; 4 receptions, 10 yards.
Peyton Manning can thank Anderson and the Von Miller-led Broncos' dominant defense for his second ring. While the future first-ballot Hall of Famer struggled to find any sort of rhythm in the passing attack, Anderson was the highlight of Gary Kubiak's unit, as he scored the team's only offensive touchdown to put the Broncos up by two scores late in the fourth. Besides Anderson's 100 scrimmage yards, the Broncos racked up a total of 94 offensive yards in that game. He and Miller should still be receiving thank yous from Peyton.
2) Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks -- Super Bowl XLIX
Game stats: 24 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD; 1 reception, 31 yards.
There are some questions that will never be answered. Did Dez really make that catch? What could have been for Minnesota had Gary Anderson made that chip shot in the 1998 NFC title game? Would the Seahawks have won Super Bowl XLIX if Pete Carroll had chosen to run the ball? I guess we'll never know. But Carroll's call to throw it on the 1-yard line with the game on the line had consequences of historic measures. The Seahawks, who had a mini-dynasty of their own in the middle of the decade, ended up winning just one title. At the time, Lynch was the most-feared running back in the game and was one of the main reasons the Seahawks had been at the top for several years. His performance in Super Bowl XLIX was dominant and, with one more carry, could've gone down in history ...
1) James White, New England Patriots -- Super Bowl LI
Game stats: 6 carries, 29 yards, 2 TDs; 14 receptions, 110 yards, 1 TD.
When Super Bowl LI is brought up in conversation, people are quick to point out how Tom Brady orchestrated a miraculous comeback or that Julian Edelman made an unreal catch to keep the rally going. What they often forget is that White had a record-setting performance and somehow found his way to the end zone with Falcons defenders draped all over him to score the game-winning touchdown in overtime. I'm one of the many who think White -- not Brady -- should've been the Super Bowl MVP that year.