It’s amazing how much time we spend leading up to a Super Bowl talking about the star players, only for someone unexpected to steal the show. Granted, it doesn’t happen a lot, but there have been plenty of occasions when a player of little consequence ahead of the game ended up winning Super Bowl MVP honors. In fact, on many occasions, we heard little from that player after that particular Super Bowl. To show you what we mean, here are some no-name players who won Super Bowl MVP and then disappeared into obscurity.
Nick Foles, Super Bowl 52
Okay, we’re willing to concede that Foles played a brilliant game in Super Bowl 52 and was a huge part of Philadelphia’s Super Bowl run in place of the injured Carson Wentz. But nobody thinks that Foles belongs in the same category as every other quarterback to win Super Bowl MVP. He’s miles from Tom Brady and Joe Montana and doesn’t even belong on the same level as Joe Flacco or Mark Rypien.
Naturally, his MVP performance in the Super Bowl helped land him a four-year, $88 million contract. But thanks to injuries, he failed in Jacksonville and couldn’t even supplant Mitch Trubisky in Chicago. That one Super Bowl doesn’t change the fact that Foles is a journeyman who’s best suited as a backup.
Larry Brown, Super Bowl 30
Two errant throws by Neil O’Donnell that went straight into Brown’s hands were all it took to make him Super Bowl MVP. He didn’t necessarily play well as much as he was just in the right place at the right time, which still deserves some praise. However, he was one of the least important players on the Dallas defense during their run of three Super Bowl wins.
In Super Bowl 30, Brown benefited from O’Donnell shying away from throwing the ball near Deion Sanders. After winning Super Bowl MVP, Brown signed a big contract with the Raiders. However, by his second season in Oakland, he was demoted to a backup. A couple of years later, he was out of the league altogether.
Malcolm Smith, Super Bowl 48
Smith didn’t even start Super Bowl 48 and he wasn’t even in the conversation for the best player on the Seattle defense that dominated that game. However, he lucked into a fumble recovery, a pick-six, and 10 tackles.
Statistically, he stood out, making him the easy choice for Super Bowl MVP. However, it was the stars on the Seattle defense that won the Super Bowl for the Seahawks. Since that game, Smith has bounced around and struggled to solidify a starting spot on any team.
Dexter Jackson, Super Bowl 37
Jackson is another great example of an opportunistic Super Bowl MVP. The Tampa Bay defense that led the Bucs to a Super Bowl win was led by the likes of John Lynch, Derrick Brooks, and Warren Sapp. However, Jackson was the one who ended up with two interceptions, which meant he got the glory.
He used the award to sign a long-term deal with the Cardinals, only to be back in Tampa a year later. To his credit, Jackson played 10 seasons in the NFL. But he was never an impact player outside of those two interceptions in Super Bowl 37.