Since it inception in 1967 the Super Bowl has been the game of the year. The game that has the world watching in anticipation of the crowning of a Champion. People also looking for exciting play and the player of the game. Every Super Bowl ever played has had an Most Valuable Player (MVP) in fact in 1978 Super Bowl XII had two of them, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Harvey Martin and defensive tackle Randy White. The MVP Award is the one constant and a distinction that could be a ticket into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
The Super Bowl MVP Trophy (Getty Images)
When you look at the history of the Super Bowl MVP Award the numbers and details of those numbers create an interesting legacy. Forty-eight Super Bowls have been played and forty-nine players have had the honor of being named MVP of the game. Nineteen of those MVP’s are now enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. Nine different positions have won the award at least once with the quarterback position having the most with twenty-six. Running backs (7) and wide receivers (6) fall second and third respectively on the list of positions to win the award.
Two time Super Bowl MVP Bart Starr (Getty Images)
The first ever MVP was Bart Starr who led the Green Bay Packers to victory in Super Bowl I in 1967. He would also be the first player to win the MVP more than once when he was crowned after Super Bowl II. Only five players have won the MVP Award more than once and they are all quarterbacks. San Francisco 49er legend Joe Montana holds the record with three. He is followed by Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady and Eli Manning who have all been honored twice.
Typically the MVP goes to someone on the winning team. However in 1971 linebacker Chuck Howley who was on the losing Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V won the game’s big honor. That is the first and only time that scenario has occurred.
The four of the last five MVP’s have been quarterbacks. The most recent MVP was Seattle Seahawks Linebacker Malcolm Smith. Who will be next? Only time will tell but we don’t have to wait much longer because we are less than four days from Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, Aruzona. So be on the look out for the next big play because it could come from the next Super Bowl MVP.
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In 1997 Michael Jordan had already amassed a career of incredible highlights and amazing records. He had won 4 NBA titles, awarded as the NBA’s MVP 4 times and named the NBA Finals MVP 4 times. His legacy was already set to be considered one of the greatest basketball players of all times. Up to that point he had many memorable moments. The most notable was the game against the Cavaliers in the NBA Playoffs were he made “The Shot” in 1989. One of the last memorable moments and possibly the biggest of his career came in the 1997 NBA Finals.
On June 11, 1997 the Chicago Bulls took on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was Game 5 of the NBA Finals and the series was tied at 2-2. The day before the game Michael Jordan became severely ill. Jordan had a fever and was not able to keep any food down. He was found in the fetal position by his trainer and was very fatigued. Many who were close to the situation believed there was no way he would play the next day.
Michael Jordan during “The Flu Game” (Gety Images”
When the game started Michael Jordan was visibly weak and pale in color. The Bulls fell to an early 16-point deficit in the second quarter and with Jordan not feeling well were in a hole. At halftime the score was 53-49 in favor of the Jazz. The third quarter found Jordan on the bench trying to rest and looking in even worse shape than he had at the beginning of the game. When the fourth quarter began Jordan was back in the game and scored 15 of the Bulls 23 points in the final quarter of the game. The most dramatic plays of the game came in the final minute. Jordan was able to make a 3-pointer to give the Bulls a 88-85 lead with just 25 seconds remaining in the game. The next play was a dunk by Greg Ostertag of the Jazz which took the Bulls lead to only one point. The Bulls were able to raise the score again with a dunk by Luc Longley. With just a few seconds remaining and the Jazz down by 3 points John Stockton was fouled and was now at the free throw line. He needed to make both free throws for the Jazz to be able to stay in the game. When he missed the first free throw the game was sealed. The Bulls had over come this daunting game and won by a score of 90-88. Michael Jordan then collapsed into Scottie Pippen’s arms, this image would forever be considered the trademark picture for this game. Jordan finished the game with 39 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.
Scottie Pippen holding a weak Michael Jordan in the final seconds of “The Flu Game” (Getty Images)
The Bulls would go on to win Game 6 and their 5th NBA Title. It has been reported in later years that he did not have the flu but instead had food poisoning. Regardless of that fact this game was an incredible show of strength and determination for Michael Jordan. Jordan will be remembered long after his days on this earth and this game will be considered one of his best for all future generations who will read about him.
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