Zero SB MVP votes cast for Patriots defensive players

In the lowest-scoring Super Bowl game of all-time, in which the New England Patriots held the Los Angeles Rams' No. 2 offense to just three points and sealed their victory with a fourth-quarter interception inside the five-yard line, the Most Valuable Player honor was awarded to ... a wide receiver. Julian Edelman, to be exact.

If you feel like handing the MVP award to an offensive player -- a receiver who didn't score a TD, no less -- following a Super Bowl that featured just 16 points instead of, say, a defensive player feels wrong, then it will surprise you that not a single member of New England's defense earned an MVP vote following Super Bowl LIII.


First reported by Sports Illustrated and confirmed to by an NFL spokesperson, Edelman was not a unanimous winner, but received most of the votes from a panel of 16 voters. Not a single vote was cast for a Pats defender.

Edelman's 10-catch, 141-yard performance on Sunday night was surely worthy of a bulk of the votes; unguardable in the slot, he picked up eight first downs, including one on New England's game-winning touchdown drive.

But how was no Patriots defensive player even considered? Among those worthy of at least a glance, if not a vote:

»*Stephon Gilmore, CB*: Recorded a game-high three passes defensed, forced a fumble that rolled out of bounds and snagged the Super Bowl-sealing interception of Jared Goff. New England's best corner all year coming up big in the biggest game.

»*Dont'a Hightower, LB*: Led all players with two sacks and three QB hits. Forced game-changing fumble in Super Bowl LI. Missed Super Bowl LII due to injury. Returned in LIII to wreak havoc in the front seven and force constant pressure on Goff.

»*Jason McCourty, CB*: From 0-16 to Super Bowl champion, his 19.2-yard recovery to force an incompletion on a sure-thing Goff-to-Brandin Cooks TD pass in the third quarter will go down as one of the sharpest defensive plays in Super Bowl history.

»*Ryan Allen, P*: Why not? Pinned Los Angeles three times inside the seven-yard line.

Only 11 non-offensive players have won Super Bowl MVP in 53 years. The last one to do so was Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller in Super Bowl 50. A defensive back has not won the award since Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dexter Jackson in Super Bowl XXXVII.

If a unit could be voted MVP, then New England's defense would have run away with the honor. If a coach could receive the award, perhaps defensive play-caller Brian Flores would have represented the team.

But given how complementary and selfless the Patriots defense was in Super Bowl LIII and has been all year really, maybe it is right that no single player deserved the MVP, because no one Patriots defender provided significantly more value than any other in the game. It was a team effort.

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