SEC's 3 best options to win Super Bowl LIV MVP
There are 17 former SEC players in Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
Kansas City has 9, San Francisco 8.
Neither starting QB came from the SEC, so it’s going to be an uphill battle to win the game’s MVP award.
But these are the 3 SEC players who have the best chance of becoming the 9th SEC player to win the award. (That list doesn’t include Von Miller, who won the Super Bowl 50 MVP but left Texas A&M before the Aggies joined the SEC.)
Kansas City DB Tyrann Mathieu (LSU)
Just 3 DBs have won the Super Bowl MVP.
Georgia’s Jake Scott was the first — in Super Bowl VII, the year the Miami Dolphins completed a perfect 17-0 season. Scott intercepted 2 passes in a 14-7 victory.
Larry Brown did so in Super Bowl XXX — 24 years ago — intercepting 2 passes as the Dallas Cowboys toppled Pittsburgh 27-17.
Dexter Jackson followed 7 years later in Super Bowl XXXVII, also intercepting 2 passes as Tampa Bay throttled Oakland 48-21.
The Honey Badger is a prime candidate to become the next DB to capture the award.
Mathieu is playing some of his best ball. He has 4 interceptions this season, 1 shy of his career high. He was a sideline-to-sideline force in the Chiefs’ AFC title game victory over Tennessee, registering 9 tackles, including 1 for a loss. He also broke up a pass.
He seems built for the moment.
San Francisco WR Deebo Samuel (South Carolina)
Samuel has 2 clear obstacles in his Super Bowl MVP quest.
First, San Francisco has to win, and few teams have been able to slow down Kansas City’s offense.
Second, if San Francisco wins, there’s a very good chance Jimmy Garappolo had a huge game.
But if the 49ers are able to replicate their ground-and-pound attack that worked so well in the NFC title game, Samuel has a chance. And if Kansas City adjusts its defense with a greater emphasis of stopping the run, Samuel has an even better chance.
The 49ers use him in multiple ways, just like South Carolina did.
He scored rushing TDs in the 49ers final 2 regular-season games.
He finished 2nd behind TE George Kittles in receptions (57) and receiving yards (802) this season.
Samuel will have plenty of opportunities to make plays.
Kansas City WR/KR Mecole Hardman (Georgia)
Super Bowl defenses do everything imaginable to take away Option A and sometimes Option B.
Against Kansas City’s pass-heavy offense, that means doubling Tyreek Hill and shadowing Travis Kelce.
Sammy Watkins took advantage of his 1-on-1s against Tennessee, no doubt gaining the attention of the 49ers’ defensive staff.
Kansas City has 3 or 4 offensive players who could easily win MVP, led, of course, by Patrick Mahomes. There’s a reason 9 of the past 13 Super Bowl MVPs were quarterbacks, why Mahomes is a heavy favorite to win it this time, too.
But wildcards have won it, too.
And as a wildcard, Option C, D or E, Hardman is a playmaking threat to turn any well-blocked screen into a touchdown, and he’ll also have opportunities in the return game. He already has 228 return yards in 2 playoff games, with a long of 58.
With all of the attention elsewhere, Hardman will have a prime opportunity to steal the show.