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The History Of The Super Bowl MVP Award

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)

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)

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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Otto Graham: The Greatest Quarterback Ever

Many modern football fans have never even heard the name Otto Graham.  Decades before Bernie Kosar was taking the Browns through many playoff runs.  Otto Graham was the best quarterback not only in Cleveland but in the NFL.  Years before Jim Brown dominated teams, Otto Graham was dominating the league.  Graham will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.  He was the 1st and possibly the biggest Cleveland sports star ever.

Otto Graham goes for a pass in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. (Getty Images)

Otto Graham goes for a pass in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. (Getty Images)

Otto Graham started his professional career in Cleveland during the 1946 season.  At the time the Browns played in the All American Football Conference (AAFC).  In that season Graham lead the Browns to their 1st Championship and the team finished with a 12-2 record.  The winning did not stop there.  The Browns went on to win the 1947, 1948 and 1949 AAFC Championship prior to entering the NFL in 1950.  During his first 4 seasons he played in 54 games and had 86 TD’s and 10,085 yards passing in total.  Many people considered the AAFC to be the minor leagues so to speak.  The Browns were not expected to be as dominant in the NFL.

The critics were completely wrong with their assumption.  Graham had almost the same numbers in the NFL as he did in the AAFC.  Graham would play in 72 games in the NFL and have 88 TD’s and 13,499 yards passing.  Graham and the Browns made the Championship game from 1950 to 1955.  In total Graham led the Browns to 10 straight championship games with them winning 7 of them.  The only years during this period where they did not win a championship was 1951, 1952 and 1953.  Their playoff record was 9-3 during those 10 seasons.

Otto Graham retired after the 1955 season.  He retired with 174 TD’s and 23,584 yards passing.  In his career Graham was a 5 time Pro Bowler and was a 7 time First Team All Pro.  He was one of the first inductees into the Hall Of Fame in 1965.

Otto Graham's Plaque (Getty Images)

Otto Graham’s Plaque (Getty Images)

Otto Graham was able to accomplish something that will never happen again by leading his team to 10 straight championship games.  The only other player to come close was Jim Kelly with the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills made it to the Super Bowl from 1990-1994 but never won any of those games.

There are many names that are discussed when talking about who was the greatest quarterback ever.  Names like Dan Marino, John Elway, Johnny Unitas and Tom Brady but none of those players achieved the success that Graham was able to do.  The only argument that any one might have against Graham would be that the playoffs were shorter with less games when he played.  The fact of the matter is he still won those titles and in both leagues.  The only reason that most people do not consider him the best is because they don’t know anything about him or what he did during his career.

As long as the stats and film are around no one can deny his greatness.  For such a short career by today’s standards he really made an impact.  Otto Graham passed away in 2003.  He left a legacy that will never be forgotten, he will live forever in the Hall Of Fame.