Super Bowl 50: Top 5 MVP candidates
Jan 24, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88) runs the ball as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) defends during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Super Bowl 50 won’t be a blowout, despite what everyone thinks. It will come down to which key players step up for their respective team. A player that embodies what it takes to be a true MVP.
Most fans and analysts are “all in” and are taking the Carolina Panthers, but I’ve got a hunch that the Denver Broncos will make this a close contest. I also expect it to be a hard-fought defensive battle, like a 17-14 score, going into the fourth quarter.
In the previous 49 Super Bowls, there have been 50 MVP’s (co-MVPs in 1977). 14 out of the first 49 MVP’s have been from positions other than quarterback or running back.
If everyone is right about the Panthers, the Super Bowl MVP is shoe-in. I am not sure it’s going to go that way. Here is how I think it’ll go as these top five players in my opinion are candidates to be MVP.
Next: 5. Salute the running back
Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) runs during the second half in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
5. C.J. Anderson We’ve seen this story before. The last time a running back won the Super Bowl MVP, the Broncos were Super Bowl champions.
They rode the back of Terrell Davis straight to a championship. The Broncos will have to do that again to win this season. C.J. Anderson has become the feature back in Denver.
In Super Bowl XXXIII, Davis had 30 carries for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Anderson will have to have a similar performance for the Broncos to leave victorious.
With Peyton Manning‘s passing abilities deteriorating, they will have to ride the backs of their running backs. What better way to surprise many by seeing Anderson put up a clinic on offense.
Next: 4. This tight end is a man on a mission
Jan 24, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88) runs the ball against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
4. Greg Olsen If Olsen were to win the Super Bowl MVP, it would be a first for the award. No tight end has ever won the award so it would be quite the milestone to add to Olsen’s already prolific career.
It’s going to be tough for him to win the award, because pass catchers have someone getting them the ball. Unless he has a game of the ages, like Jerry Rice in Super Bowl XXIII (11 catches, 215 yards, one touchdown), it’s going to be hard.
With that said, he is the top receiver on the team and he will be an early favorite for Cam Newton once the big game gets underway. This will help him in potentially winning the award, and having a game like Rice.
It’s a long-shot, however, he could garner consideration if he steps up and delivers like never before.
Next: 3. Can anyone stop Superman?
Jan 24, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) dabs during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
3. Cam Newton I think it’s going to be close, but if it’s a rout, it’ll be because Cam Newton has a historic performance. I think he could have a performance similar to Vince Young in the 2006 Rose Bowl.
The Panther won’t need that performance like Texas did. However, Newton just will have that performance that sets the record books in the big game.
In that Rose Bowl, Vince Young had 467 total yards (267 passing, 200 rushing) and three rushing touchdowns. For it to be a rout, Newton would have to have nearly achieve 400 total yards and multiple touchdowns through the air and ground.
Newton has the ability to do that, but it’s unlikely. With that said, if Carolina wins, I give Newton a 95% chance to win the award and truly put up one of the best NFL seasons the football world has ever seen.
Next: 2. An old gunslinger in his last rodeo
Peyton Manning winning the award will determine how the game plays out. He doesn’t have to have huge numbers to win the award if one thinks about it.
Let’s suppose the game is close going into the fourth quarter. If Manning were to lead a late, game-winning drive regardless of his overall stats, voters will probably feel the sense they need to give him the award for sentimental reasons.
NFL.com reported that mics and cameras picked up Manning telling Bill Belichick what we all saw in the above video. That may lead voters to want Manning to go out with a bang.
Fans get to vote for the game MVP, and sentimental favoritism could play a huge factor in that vote. If the Broncos win and Manning has a decent game, he will more than likely win MVP and retire on a high note.
Next: 1. Top defensive player
Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) celebrates his fumble recovery during the first half in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
1. Von Miller
The Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks made it to Super Bowl XXXV, XXXVII and XLVII, respectively, primarily because of their top defenses. The same can be said about the Broncos this season.
In those three Super Bowls, a defensive player won the MVP. In fact, the Super Bowl MVP has only gone to a defensive player eight times out of 50 winners.
The Broncos will win because of a huge performance from their defense and mainly, Von Miller. He will have the same influence on the Super Bowl that Ray Lewis did for the Ravens.
More jets: NY Jets 2015 Report Card: Running Backs
Despite the athleticism of Newton, Miller has the speed to keep up with Newton. If he has multiple sacks and an interception, Miller’s influence in the game will make the fans and media to vote for him because of containing one of the top offensive teams in the NFL.