Patrick Mahomes earned the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award on Thursday night, making him only the eighth quarterback to have won the accolade more than once.
However, Mahomes did not attend the league’s awards presentation at Phoenix’s Symphony Hall. He was prepping for Sunday’s Super Bowl between his club, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Philadelphia Eagles at an unnamed site nearby.
Unsurprisingly, Mahomes is the favourite to win MVP of the Super Bowl. According to Drafting, he has +120 odds, just edging quarterback Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles (+125). Travis Kelce, a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, is next at +1200.
Given that quarterbacks have been declared Super Bowl champions, the almost 10-fold difference in probabilities between them and Kelce isn’t all that shocking.
In the 56-year history of the game, the MVP of the Bowl was selected 31 times. This season, the league’s top two quarterbacks were Mahomes and Hurts. Mahomes completed a career-high 67.1% of his passes, threw for an NFL-high 5,250 yards and 41 touchdowns, and only 12 interceptions. Hurts rushed for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns while completing 66.5% of his throws for 3,701 yards and 22 scores in his second season as the starting quarterback.
If Mahomes is named MVP on Sunday, he will join an elite group of athletes. Since Kurt Warner in the 1999 season, only six players have won the MVP awards for both the regular season and Super Bowl in the same year.
All-time greats and multiple-time regular season MVPs like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers never accomplished the feat; Emmitt Smith (1993) is the first non-quarterback to do it.
The six previous winners of both the regular season and Super Bowl MVPs in the same year are shown below. These athletes are all Pro Football Hall of Fame members.
At the time, Starr was 32 and in his eleventh season with the Packers. He finished the regular season with a total of 62.2% of his passes were complete for a league-best 2,257 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Packers beat the Chiefs, 35-10, in the inaugural Super Bowl under his leadership, which was played in Los Angeles. 16 of 23 attempts by Starr resulted in 250 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The next year, Starr won the Super Bowl MVP award once more after tossing for 202 yards and a touchdown in a 33-14 win over the Oakland Raiders.
1978 – Terry Bradshaw won his first and only MVP award after throwing for 2,915 yards and 28 touchdowns during the regular season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He performed even better in the postseason, helping the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the defending champion Dallas Cowboys 35-31 to win their third Super Bowl in five years.
17 of Bradshaw’s 30 passes were completed, resulting in 318 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Steelers led 35-17 after his 18-yard touchdown pass to Lynn Swann in the final frame. In the closing three minutes, the Cowboys scored two more touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough.
The following year, as the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Los Angeles Rams 31-19 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, Bradshaw won another Super Bowl MVP award. Bradshaw passed for 309 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions on that particular day.
1989 – Joe Montana, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers Montana came into the 1989 season as the top quarterback in the NFL throughout the 1980s. He was a three-time Super Bowl MVP and had guided the 49ers to three championships throughout the decade. But he had never won the award during the regular season.
Everything changed in 1989 when Montana earned the MVP award, finishing 3521 passes for a career-high 70.2% accuracy with 26 touchdowns. Then, in the Super Bowl, he coached the 49ers to a 55-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.
The most lopsided victory in Super Bowl history and the club with the most points ever scored in the contest. 22 of 29 attempts by Montana resulted in 297 yards and 5 touchdowns. 1990 saw Montana win the MVP award once more, but the 49ers’ NFC Championship game loss to the New York Giants was 15-13. He did not participate in another Super Bowl.
1993: Emmitt Smith, a running back with the Dallas Cowboys
Smith ran for 1,486 yards and nine touchdowns during the regular season to lead the NFL in rushing for the third straight year. In addition, he recorded 57 receptions and was the first player from Dallas to earn MVP.
The Cowboys went on to defeat the Patriots 30-13, with Smith rushing for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
greater than the Buffalo Bills. When Smith scored two touchdowns and Eddie Murray kicked a 20-yard field goal to seal the victory, the score was tied 13-13 in the third quarter.
Smith concluded his career with an NFL record 18,355 running yards and 164 rushing touchdowns despite never winning another MVP award during a regular season or Super Bowl.
1998 – Steve Young, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers
Following Montana’s elbow injury-related absence from the 1991 season, Young took over and remained the NFL’s starting quarterback for life. In 1992, he received his first MVP award; two years later, when he led the league in completion percentage (70.3%), had 35 touchdown passes, and threw for 3,969 yards, he received a second award.
In the Super Bowl, Young led the 49ers to a 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami by throwing for 325 yards and a game-high six touchdowns. The 49ers are winless.
Super Bowl ever since.
Kurt Warner, quarterback for the St. Louis Rams, in 1999
One of the most improbable stories in sports history was this one. Warner had only participated in one NFL game before to the 1999 campaign, and the Rams did not protect him in the expansion draught that year. After Trent Green was hurt in a preseason game, he eventually returned to the Rams and earned the starting job.
Warner, who was 28 at the time, went on to win the MVP award for the regular season after leading the league with a 65.1% completion rate, 41 touchdown passes, and 4,353 passing yards. Warner completed 24 of 45 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns in the Super Bowl against the Tennessee Titans, including the game-winning 73-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Bruce with 1:54 left in the game.
Warner won the MVP once more when the Rams approached the Super Bowl as overwhelming favourite two years later. However, the New England Patriots defeated St. Louis 20-17 to win the first of their six Super Bowls.