In the last 10 Super Bowls, only three players who were not quarterbacks ended up taking home the game’s MVP award. Wide receiver Julian Edelman won Super Bowl LIII MVP, and linebackers Malcolm Smith and Von Miller took home the honor in Super Bowl XLVIII and Super Bowl 50 respectively.
While it’s not impossible for someone who doesn’t play under center to be recognized, trends have shown that it’s awfully difficult.
Be that as it may, we’ll take a look at three non-QB players participating in Super Bowl LVII that have the best chance to take home the MVP.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ passing game begins, and arguably ends, with tight end Travis Kelce. It’s challenging to see how the Chiefs have a prolific passing day without his contributions. Kelce may not always finish with gaudy yardage statistics, but he should be a target funnel for quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Kelce will also get a few looks in the red zone if the Chiefs are in need of a play near the goal line, perhaps even as a rusher or a blocker on an important quarterback sneak.
In the previous 56 Super Bowls, a tight end has never won Super Bowl MVP, but Kelce’s outsized impact on the field gives him an excellent chance to make history at the position.
Even though the Chiefs largely did a good job holding Cincinnati Bengals receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins last week in the AFC championship game, the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t going to be afraid to challenge Kansas City’s secondary. A.J. Brown is arguably Philadelphia’s most explosive offensive player, and he might have a few opportunities to break big plays off as the Chiefs focus their attention on controlling the line of scrimmage.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Eagles tried to make a concerted effort to get the ball into Brown’s hands early, by throwing him screen passes in hopes he will rack up yards after the catch. Head coach Nick Sirianni might also try to motion Brown around the formation, so Kansas City isn’t able to predict exactly where he’s going to be on each play. This might free Brown up against one of Kansas City’s less talented cornerbacks.
There’s going to a lot of attention paid to Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts, especially in the ground game. Kansas City might make it a point not to lose the Super Bowl thanks to long scampers by Hurts, and that singular focus might leave others in the backfield with chances to shine.
The most likely player to have a standout game under that premise is Eagles starting running back Miles Sanders. He had a career season rushing the football this year, posting over 1,200 yards on the ground, and scoring 11 touchdowns. If the Eagles are near the goal line multiple times in this game, they might decide to involve Sanders to give the Chiefs something else to think about.