Today’s guest post comes from Damon Gulczynski, a longtime reader, Seattle sports fan, and part-time writer. He also wrote this book on baseball names. As always, we thank our guest posters for contributing.
James White was fantastic in Super Bowl LI, setting records in receptions (14) and total points (20), but he did not win the MVP Award. Instead the voters bestowed that honor on a player who reduced his team’s chances of winning by nearly 15% on a single play (Robert Alford’s pick-six). That, of course, is a misleading statement — Tom Brady went on to finish the game with over 450 passing yards in leading his team to the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history — but it is completely accurate to say James White was fantastic. It would not have been unreasonable in the least to pick him over Brady for game MVP. Super Bowl LI was a case where it would have been more representative of the story of the game to give out two MVP awards — or better yet to have a “three stars” of the game system, like hockey, so that Trey Flowers (2.5 sacks) could have been recognized along with Brady and White.
With this in mind, for fun, I decided to go through each of the 51 Super Bowls and retroactively select the three stars of the game. In making these selections I relied on box scores, play-by-play logs, news articles, and video clips from past Super Bowls. My full list is given below. The actual Super Bowl MVPs are denoted with a + sign after their name; players on the losing team are denoted with a ~ after their name. In 30 of the 51 cases the MVP was my first star of the game, which means I think the voters “got it wrong” 21 times. And in six cases I think they really got it wrong, as the player they chose for MVP did not even qualify as my third star of the game. [click to continue…]