Which Positions Win Super Bowl MVP Most Often After QB?

Written By Brett Gibbons on February 11, 2022
super bowl mvp positions

No one is quite glorified in NFL history like a Super Bowl MVP. The player who came up biggest on the biggest stage in the world is immortalized forever. Super Bowl MVP positions are not always the quarterback. Plenty of other players have taken home the hardware.

Ahead of Super Bowl betting, what does the past landscape of MVPs look like? Below, TheLines looks at every winner by position and every winner in history.

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Super Bowl MVP Positions

PositionTimes Won
QB31
WR7
RB7
LB4
DL2
DB3
KR1

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that quarterbacks dominate past Super Bowl MVP positions. After all, the quarterback is the most important position and is often called upon to lead his team to championships. Of the 55 Super Bowls so far, 31 quarterbacks have won the award. The last two MVP winners have been QBs (Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes) and four of the last five have been (Nick Foles and Tom Brady again).

But 31/55 MVPs being named quarterback means 23/55 have been other positions. Most recently Julian Edelman of the Patriots won the award as a receiver after hauling in 141 receiving yards in a game devoid of offense. Edelman became the seventh receiver to be named MVP after other players like Jerry Rice and Hines Ward. A few of the more obscure MVPs are receivers, namely Deion Branch (2005) and Santonio Holmes (2009).

Running backs have also win the award seven times, but haven’t won one since 1998 (Terrell Davis). The Dolphins‘ Larry Csonka and Steelers‘ Franco Harris are technically listed as a fullbacks, but were the team’s primary ballcarriers.

On the defensive side of the ball, 10 players have been named MVP. Linebackers lead the way with four– most recently the Broncos’ Von Miller– and defensive backs and defensive linemen have three each. Notable defensive players to have won the award include Ray Lewis (Ravens) and Richard Dent (Bears). The only co-MVPs in the Super Bowl were Cowboys defensive linemen Randy White and Harvey Martin in 1977.

Desmond Howard is the only special teams player to be named Super Bowl MVP. Howard– also a Heisman Trophy winner– returned a kickoff 99 yards for the Packers in the game-sealing touchdown. He didn’t record a reception in the game, making him a true special teamer.

Super Bowl MVP By Year

YearSuper BowlMVPPositionTeam
2021LVTom BradyQBBuccaneers
2020LIVPatrick MahomesQBChiefs
2019LIIIJulian EdelmanWRPatriots
2018LIINick FolesQBEagles
2017LITom BradyQBPatriots
201650Von MillerLBBroncos
2015XLIXTom BradyQBPatriots
2014XLVIIIMalcolm SmithLBSeahawks
2013XLVIIJoe FlaccoQBRavens
2012XLVIEli ManningQBGiants
2011XLVAaron RodgersQBPackers
2010XLIVDrew BreesQBSaints
2009XLIIISantonio HolmesWRSteelers
2008XLIIEli ManningQBGiants
2007XLIPeyton ManningQBColts
2006XLHines WardWRSteelers
2005XXXIXDeion BranchWRPatriots
2004XXXVIIITom BradyQBPatriots
2003XXXVIIDexter JacksonCBBuccaneers
2002XXXVITom BradyQBPatriots
2001XXXVRay LewisLBRavens
2000XXXIVKurt WarnerQBRams
1999XXXIIIJohn ElwayQBBroncos
1998XXXIITerrell DavisRBBroncos
1997XXXIDesmond HowardKRPackers
1996XXXLarry BrownCBCowboys
1995XXIXSteve YoungQB49ers
1994XXVIIIEmmitt SmithRBCowboys
1993XXVIITroy AikmanQBCowboys
1992XXVIMark RypienQBRedskins
1991XXVOttis AndersonRBGiants
1990XXIVJoe MontanaQB49ers
1989XXIIIJerry RiceWR49ers
1988XXIIDoug WilliamsQBRedskins
1987XXIPhil SimmsQBGiants
1986XXRichard DentDEBears
1985XIXJoe MontanaQB49ers
1984XVIIIMarcus AllenRBRaiders
1983XVIIJohn RigginsRBRedskins
1982XVIJoe MontanaQB49ers
1981XVJim PlunkettQBRaiders
1980XIVTerry BradshawQBSteelers
1979XIIITerry BradshawQBSteelers
1978XIIHarvey Martin, Randy WhiteDLCowboys
1977XIFred BiletnikoffWRRaiders
1976XLynn SwannWRSteelers
1975IXFranco HarrisRBSteelers
1974VIIILarry CsonkaFBDolphins
1973VIIJake ScottSAFDolphins
1972VIRoger StaubachQBCowboys
1971VChuck HowleyLBCowboys
1970IVLen DawsonQBChiefs
1969IIIJoe NamathQBJets
1968IIBart StarrQBPackers
1967IBart StarrQBPackers

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Written by
Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

View all posts by Brett Gibbons