Top 10 Worst Super Bowl MVPs

RealClearSports.com ranked the top 10 worst Super Bowl MVPs of all-time:

Tom Brady10. Tom Brady – Super Bowl XXXVI
The game itself – one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history – featured many heroes: Ty Law and his 47-yard interception returned for touchdown, Adam Vinatieri’s two field goals, including the game-winner as time expired, and Troy Brown’s game-high six receptions, but the real MVP was head coach Bill Belichick, who designed a game plan that slowed the “Greatest Show on Turf” to just 17 points.

While it can be considered near blasphemous to include Tom Brady on any list with “worst” in the title, his performance in Super Bowl XXXVI was hardly MVP-worthy. The NFL’s Golden Boy was a paltry 16-for-27 for 145 yards and one score; even on the now famous last-minute drive, he completed three of the five passes to running back J. R. Redmond.

9. Ray Lewis – Super Bowl XXXV
The Ravens defense dominated the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, allowing just 152 total yards as they rolled to a 34-7 victory. Ray Lewis, the emotional and vocal leader, played a large role in the game, but his stats, three solo tackles and four blocked passes, are far from stellar. Of the Giants’ five turnovers, Lewis was only partially responsible for one of them, a tipped-pass that was then picked-off by Jamie Sharper. While leadership is important in naming the MVP, stats count too, and Lewis just didn’t have them.

1. Dexter Jackson – Super Bowl XXXVII
The Raiders had the most potent passing attack in the league in 2002. Quarterback Rich Gannon led the league in passing yards, had the best touchdown-to-interception ratio and was the league’s regular season MVP. But it was the Bucs defense that shined, forcing Gannon into throwing a Super Bowl record five interceptions (after recording just 10 during the regular season).

Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns of 44 and 50 yards – both by the same cornerback, Dwight Smith – but he was surprisingly not named MVP. Instead, Dexter Jackson, who also had two picks, was named MVP. Two interceptions in a Super Bowl are impressive, but it’s far from an anomaly: 10 other players have intercepted at least two passes in the big game. And what did the Bucs get out of those two interceptions? Just one field goal.

To be fair to Jackson, both of his interceptions came in the first half when the game was still close. In fact, one could say that both of his picks set the tone for Tampa’s blowout. Where as Smith’s two interceptions came when the game was largely in hand for the Bucs, his second one coming with under 30 seconds left to play and Tampa up 41-21. This is an example where stats don’t paint the entire picture.

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Bengals’ secondary improving, but safety is still an issue

In the weeks leading up to the kickoff the 2008 NFL Season, I’ll take a look at position groups that could potentially lift teams to new heights, or bury them and their postseason hopes. Today I take a look at how the Cincinnati Bengals have re-built their secondary through the draft, although the safety position still looks like a potential weakness.

It’s no secret the strength of the Cincinnati Bengals resides on offense. With Carson Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson running the show offensively, the Bengals haven’t had an issue lighting up the scoreboard over the past three seasons. It’s keeping opponents from light up the scoreboard that’s been the problem in Cincinnati.

The Bengals have made a collective effort to improve their defense in the past three drafts, using their last three first round picks on that side of the ball. In 2006, Cincy selected South Carolina corner Jonathan Joseph with their first round pick and in 2007 the Bengals took another defensive back with their first pick in Michigan’s Leon Hall. This past draft, the team tabbed USC outside linebacker Keith Rivers in the first round.

But back to the secondary.

Outside of being suspended one game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy in October, Joseph took considerable steps in his development in only his second year. After recording 58 tackles and no interceptions as a rookie in 2006, Joseph totaled 62 stops and four picks last year.

Hall proved many draft pundits wrong after snagging five interceptions, a forced fumble and 69 tackles as a rookie last season. Several so-called experts made claims that Hall was overrated and would get exposed by NFL receivers, but he more than held his own and was one of the best first round picks in 2007.

While Joseph and Hall are developing into a nice tandem at corerback, the Bengals’ safety position is a weakness. The team lost veteran safety Madieu Williams to free agency in the offseason and while he under performed last year, he was still a productive player and a solid starter. Set to replace Williams is Marvin White, a 2007 fourth round pick who lacks experience and top end speed. But he made plenty of plays collegially at TCU and the team hopes that playmaking ability will transfer to the NFL.

Youngster Chinedum Ndukwe was giving veteran Dexter Jackson all he could handle for the Bengals’ starter at strong safety, but a knee injury has sidelined Ndukwe and it appears Jackson’s job is safe for now. While Jackson has starting experience, he’s limited in coverage, which could spell trouble with White still trying to learn the free safety position.

Depending on how the safeties perform this year, the Bengals could have one of the better young defensive backfields in the league. But another potential issue is that the front seven isn’t expected to produce much of a pass rush. And it won’t matter how good this young secondary is if the quarterback has all day to throw.

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