5 B1G alums not named Tom Brady who have an outside shot to win Super Bowl MVP
The favorite to win Super Bowl MVP will always be the quarterback. And since Tom Brady is the best to ever do it and Patrick Mahomes is already cementing his legacy as a future Hall of Famer, those two guys are going to be pretty tough to beat for the top honor in Super Bowl LV.
Since we like to focus on all-things B1G, we’re taking a B1G approach to the Super Bowl MVP honors this year. Sure, Brady is the most-likely to win it — and earn his fifth individual honor in football’s biggest game — but there are some other B1G alums who could stake their claim to the MVP honors on Super Bowl Sunday.
Who are those candidates? We’ve got five.
Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers (Penn State)
Godwin might be the most-likely B1G candidate to earn Super Bowl MVP honors if it doesn’t go to Brady. The former Penn State wide receiver has had a solid season, hauling in 65 passes for 840 yards and 7 touchdowns during the regular season. He hasn’t slowed down during the playoffs, either, totaling 14 receptions for 223 yards and a touchdown in three games. That includes a 110-yard performance on 5 catches in Tampa Bay’s win over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game. Having a 6-time Super Bowl winner throwing passes his direction should help, as well.
Only one Penn State alum has earned Super Bowl MVP honors, with Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris taking home the award in Super Bowl IX. Harris rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries.
Frank Clark, DE, Chiefs (Michigan)
A defensive player has not taken home Super Bowl MVP honors since Von Miller in 2016, and the last defensive end to be presented with the honor was Chicago’s Richard Dent in Super Bowl XX. But Clark has a good chance to become the next defensive player to have a big game in the Super Bowl. He ended the regular season with 44 stops, 6 sacks and a fumble recovery during a 13-3 season in Kansas City.
Clark has only totaled 5 tackles this postseason, but saved his best performance for the AFC Championship Game, collecting 3 stops and 2 sacks in a win over Buffalo. Could that momentum carry over into the Super Bowl? Last season, Clark had one sack and was credited with a pair of QB hurries in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV victory over San Francisco. Tampa Bay’s offensive line is tough, but Clark could find some success getting after Brady if the Bucs are forced to throw the football.
Lavonte David, LB, Buccaneers (Nebraska)
The former Husker is having an excellent season for Tampa Bay in 2020, and it’s translated to the postseason. David has been credited with 20 tackles, 2 passes defended and a sack in the playoffs for the Buccaneers. With an opportunity to win a Super Bowl, he’ll be locked in and ready for whatever Kansas City throws his way.
David made 82 stops, defended 6 passes, forced 3 fumbles, recovered 2 more and had an interception during the regular season. Producing a big game won’t be easy against the Chiefs offense, but David is a versatile linebacker who can create turnovers and rack up tackles in a hurry. He’s having a great season and seems fired up for the opportunity to play in his first Super Bowl.
Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Buccaneers (Minnesota)
This could be one of the bigger stretches because of Winfield’s health, and the fact that Patrick Mahomes so rarely makes mistakes. But the former Minnesota star has been doing some impressive things all season long as a rookie, so why not add Super Bowl MVP to the list of accomplishments?
Winfield totaled 64 tackles, 6 passes defended 2 forced fumble and an interception in his first season in the NFL. In Tampa Bay’s first game against Kansas City, he made 8 tackles. In two postseason games, Winfield has made 12 stops and forced a fumble. An ankle injury kept him out of the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay, but he’s had two weeks to get healthy. It’s still unclear whether or not he’ll play — or how much he’ll play — but if Winfield is on the field, he has an outside shot to be the first Golden Gopher to take home Super Bowl MVP honors.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Chiefs (Michigan State)
Another longshot, but hey, every so often there’s a surprise player who busts out a big performance and helps lead his team to victory. Maybe Bell could be that guy in Super Bowl LV. He’s a backup running back and he’s still battling injury, so it would take quite a lot for the former Spartan to claim the honor.
Bell rushed for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns in 9 games for the Chiefs during the regular season and had 99 yards on 13 receptions. He’s only taken 2 carries for 6 yards in the playoffs and didn’t play in the AFC Championship Game against Buffalo. The odds are stacked against Bell to win this award. But the running back does have something to prove, and if he plays with a chip on his shoulder, maybe we’ll see a glimpse of the old Bell, even if it’s just for one game. First things first, though, Bell needs to be healthy enough to play.