Each year, the biggest game on the planet is played as the Super Bowl captivates audiences from across the globe. While the winner of the game will be glorified for generations, it is the individual performances that are the stuff that makes players become legends.
It was a 99-yard return by Andre Rison or a 2.5 sack performance that included two forced fumbles by Von Miller that turned the career of a good player into that of a great one. This is where the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl can create his own legend.
This year, as the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams get ready to square off in Super Bowl LIII, there are a number of likely candidates to win this year’s award. Here are the likely award winners as well as the odds of them winning.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots (+125) – Tom Brady has already cemented his place as the greatest football player in NFL history, but Sunday he will be looking to add to his legend as he will be attempting to earn his fifth Super Bowl MVP award. It will be a record ninth appearance in the NFL’s biggest game for Brady, a contest he has already won five times. Four of those times he was named as the MVP with wide receiver Deion Branch being the only other winner of the MVP award in the Brady Super Bowl era.
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Considering that in four of his eight Super Bowl appearances he has been the MVP, which makes sense to stand by him here as well. In his last three appearances in the big game, Brady has thrown for at least 328 yards in each of those contests, including 505 against Philadelphia last year. He holds most of the Super Bowl records for a quarterback, including 2576 career passing yards and 18 touchdowns.
Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams (+250) – if the Los Angeles Rams are going to win Super Bowl LIII, their starting quarterback is going to have to have the game of his career. Goff is in only his third season in the NFL, but he leads a high-powered offense, throwing for 4688 yards and 32 touchdowns this season, both single-season highs for the Los Angeles quarterback.
However, his playoff numbers have not been that impressive. In three career playoff games, Goff has completed just 56.6% of his passes and has just two touchdowns. He is averaging 247.3 yards passing per game for a total of 742 yards. He will need a 350+ yard performance to beat Brady, which would earn him the MVP.
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams (+1000) – there is still a question mark as to whether Todd Gurley will even play or, if he does, how much of an influence he will have on the contest. Gurley had an MVP season, leading the NFL in touchdown rushes with 17 as he ran for 1251 yards in 14 games this season. Gurley did not appear in either of the final two regular-season games and has just 20 total rushes through the first two playoff games for Los Angeles.
If healthy and ready to go, he makes the Rams an incredibly dangerous team, and will be an MVP candidate. However, his availability to the team may be a question mark leading up to the game.
Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots (+1200) – most of the talk surrounding the Patriots is about Tom Brady, but rookie running backs Sony Michel is having an outstanding playoffs for New England. Michel ran for 931 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season, but has 242 yards rushing and five scores in the team’s two playoff games. If that kind of productivity continues, it will be Michel holding the MVP trophy.
C.J. Anderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams (+1600) – with Gurley a question mark, veteran C.J. Anderson has stepped in and has been a key factor in helping Los Angeles reach the Super Bowl. Anderson started the season with Carolina before joining the Rams, and had only 403 yards rushing on 67 carries, an impressive 6.0 yards per carry average. However, in the playoffs he has 167 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He has proven that he can fill in and produce should Gurley not be able to go.
The Dark Horses to Win:
Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams (+1800) – Donald is given the best chance of any defensive player of being named the MVP. The defensive tackle had 20.5 sacks during the regular season.
James White, RB, New England Patriots (+2000) – White had 751 yards receiving and 425 yards rushing during the regular season, with 12 total touchdowns. During the playoffs he has only six carries, but has been a favorite target of Brady, making 19 catches through the first two games.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots (+2000) – Edelman led New England in yards receiving with 850 during the regular season. He has 16 catches for 247 yards in the playoffs the season.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots (+3000) – Gronkowski had a disappointing season statistically, recording only 682 yards and three touchdowns, but he is a favorite target of Brady especially around the end zone. The tight end has seven receptions in the playoffs for 104 yards.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams (+4000) – Cooks had 1204 yards receiving for the Los Angeles Rams this season, a single season-high. He has 11 receptions for 172 yards in the playoffs and would probably love to have the biggest game of his career considering that he was in a Patriots uniform last season.