Cooper Kupp

Super Bowl MVP history, list of winners, and more

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Super Bowl MVP history is full of interesting stories, stats, and players.

While the winning team gets to lift the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the game, the winner of Super Bowl MVP gets to hold a special place in history. While most Super Bowl MVPs are among the best players in NFL history, that’s not always the case. But that’s part of what makes Super Bowl MVP history so fascinating.

Super Bowl MVP history

Naturally, we wanted to share a list of previous Super Bowl MVPs, but there is so much more to Super Bowl MVP history than just a list of names. We wanted to take a closer look at some of the best Super Bowl performances of all time and share many of the interesting factoids in the history of the Super Bowl MVP award.

Super Bowl MVP winners list 

Naturally, we’ll begin with a full list of previous Super Bowl MVPs. There have been five players to win Super Bowl MVP on multiple occasions, so while we don’t want to repeat those names, here is a chronological list of every Super Bowl MVP:

  • Bart Starr (I, II)
  • Joe Namath (III)
  • Len Dawson (IV)
  • Chuck Howley (V)
  • Roger Staubach (VI)
  • Jake Scott (VII)
  • Larry Csonka (VIII)
  • Franco Harris (IX)
  • Lynn Swann (X)
  • Fred Biletnikoff (XI)
  • Harvey Martin (co-MVP, XII)
  • Randy White (co-MVP, XII)
  • Terry Bradshaw (XIII, XIV)
  • Jim Plunkett (XV)
  • Joe Montana (XVI, XIX, XXIV)
  • John Riggins (XVII)
  • Marcus Allen (XVIII)
  • Richard Dent (XX)
  • Phil Simms (XXI)
  • Doug Williams (XXII)
  • Jerry Rice (XXIII)
  • Ottis Anderson (XXV)
  • Mark Rypien (XXVI)
  • Troy Aikman (XXVII)
  • Emmitt Smith (XXVIII)
  • Steve Young (XXIX)
  • Larry Brown (XXX)
  • Desmond Howard (XXXI)
  • Terrell Davis (XXXII)
  • John Elway (XXXIII)
  • Kurt Warner (XXXIV)
  • Ray Lewis (XXXV)
  • Tom Brady (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX, LI, LV)
  • Dexter Jackson (XXXVII)
  • Deion Branch (XXXIX)
  • Hines Ward (XL)
  • Peyton Manning (XLI)
  • Eli Manning (XLII, XLVI)
  • Santonio Holmes (XLIII)
  • Drew Brees (XLIV)
  • Aaron Rodgers (XLV)
  • Joe Flacco (XLVII)
  • Malcolm Smith (XLVIII)
  • Von Miller (50)
  • Nick Foles (LII)
  • Julian Edelman (LIII)
  • Patrick Mahomes (LIV, LVII)
  • Cooper Kupp (LVI)

Has anyone won Super Bowl MVP on the losing team? 

There is just one example of a winner of Super Bowl MVP on a losing team. That player is Chuck Howley, who won MVP honors in Super Bowl V as a member of the Dallas Cowboys when they lost to the Baltimore Colts.


The Colts won an ugly 16-13 game over the Cowboys with the game ending with 11 turnovers, including seven by the Colts, who won the game. Howley, a linebacker, had two interceptions in the game. But keep in mind this was the number of tackles and sacks players had were recorded.

While it remains unusual to give a losing player MVP, which is why it’s only happened once, there were few alternatives in Super Bowl V.

Baltimore star quarterback Johnny Unitas had a horrible game, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble before leaving the game with an injury. Backup quarterback Earl Morrall completed just seven of his 15 passes in the game for 147 yards with no touchdown passes and one interception, so he wasn’t worthy of MVP honors. The only Baltimore player who might have been worthy of MVP honors was tight end John Mackey, who had a game-high 80 receiving yards and a touchdown.

However, he had just two catches in the game, leading Howley to become the first defensive player to win Super Bowl MVP and the only player from the losing team to receive the honor.

Who has won the most Super Bowl MVPs?

As mentioned, there are just five players who have won Super Bowl MVP more than once in the first 56 Super Bowls. Not surprisingly, Tom Brady has won Super Bowl MVP the most times, winning MVP honors five times while leading his team to a Super Bowl victory seven times. Brady’s first Super Bowl MVP came in Super Bowl XXXVI when he had 220 fewer passing yards than losing quarterback Kurt Warner but did lead the Patriots on a late drive that produced the game-winning field goal.


Brady’s fifth Super Bowl MVP came in Super Bowl LV when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. In that game, Brady completed 21 of his 29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns. However, the Tampa defense also deserves a lot of credit for stifling previous Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes in that game.

Other than Brady, Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Eli Manning and Patrick Mahomes are the only players to win Super Bowl MVP on multiple occasions. Montana won the award three times during a nine-year span while the other three players won MVP honors twice each. Starr took home MVP in each of the first two Super Bowls. Later, Bradshaw became the only other player to win Super Bowl MVP in consecutive years, doing so in Super Bowls XIII and XIV.

Finally, Manning won his first MVP in Super Bowl XLII, doing so one year after his brother won the award, and won his second four years later in Super Bowl XLVI.

What is the prize for winning Super Bowl MVP? 

The prize for winning Super Bowl MVP is the Pete Rozelle Trophy. Rozelle was the fourth commissioner in NFL history, serving from 1960 to 1989.

Before Super Bowl XXV, there was no formal trophy. However, one year after Rozelle retired as commissioner, the NFL created the Pete Rozelle trophy to honor Rozelle and award yearly to the Super Bowl MVP.

Which defensive players have won Super Bowl MVP?

Naturally, the winners of Super Bowl MVP have overwhelmingly been quarterbacks while more than half a dozen wide receivers and running backs have both won the award as well. However, over the first 56 Super Bowls, 10 defensive players have received MVP honors. Those players are:

  • Chuck Howley
  • Jake Scott
  • Harvey Martin (co-MVP)
  • Randy White (co-MVP)
  • Richard Dent
  • Larry Brown
  • Ray Lewis
  • Dexter Jackson
  • Malcolm Smith
  • Von Miller

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