Generally speaking, the SEC dominates recruiting. Then it dominates college football. Then it dominates the NFL Draft. It’s not a perfect, annual triangle of events, but there aren’t many gaps in it, either.
Does the SEC dominate the Super Bowl as well?
It certainly did early. Former Alabama quarterbacks Bart Starr (I and II) and Joe Namath (III) combined to win the first 3 Super Bowl MVPs. Decades later, two other SEC QBs you know combined to win 3 more.
So, can any league match the SEC in Super Bowl MVPs?
Let’s take a look. Remember, expansion is relatively new, so players appear as they were, not where their teams are now. For instance, Texas A&M is in the SEC, but Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller played his entire college career in the Big 12, so he is included in that league’s tally. Teams like Miami, FSU and Penn State once were independent powers, so their MVPs aren’t necessarily tied to their current conference, either.
Super Bowl MVPs: 2
Most recent: Dexter Jackson (FSU), Super Bowl 37
Skinny: Miami, Louisville and FSU each have an MVP who didn’t play in the ACC. Jackson, a DB, was part of FSU’s glory years in the late 1990s. He was a 4th-round pick in the 1999 draft. The ACC’s other Super Bowl MVP was Maryland’s Randy White. Maryland, of course, bolted the ACC for the Big Ten.
Super Bowl MVPs: 8
Most recent: Tom Brady (Michigan), Super Bowl 51
Skinny: Brady has half of the Big Ten’s MVP haul — and will try to win his 5th on Sunday against the Rams. Not bad for a part-time college starter. Sunday could have been a spectacular showcase for the Big Ten, but we were robbed of the opportunity. Saints QB (and Purdue star) Drew Brees was the Super Bowl 44 MVP.
Super Bowl MVPs: 2
Most recent: Von Miller (Texas A&M), Super Bowl 50
Skinny: The Big 12 probably claims more. Troy Aikman started at Oklahoma before finishing at UCLA. Larry Brown played at TCU when the Horned Frogs were in the SWC. Miller finished his Texas A&M career just before the Aggies joined the SEC.
Super Bowl MVPs: 9
Most recent: Nick Foles (Arizona), Super Bowl 52
Skinny: The Pac-12 has a chance to go back-to-back. Jared Goff (Cal) and the Rams took advantage of a blown call to beat New Orleans in the NFC title game. The Pac-12’s winners include some of the magic QB names: Aaron Rodgers (Cal, Super Bowl 45), John Elway (Stanford, Super Bowl 33), Aikman (UCLA, Super Bowl 27) and Jim Plunkett (Stanford, Super Bowl 15).
Super Bowl MVPs: 10
Most recent: Eli Manning (Ole Miss), Super Bowl 46
Skinny: Is there anything the SEC doesn’t lead the football world in? Before Eli Manning won that MVP, he and older brother Peyton won back-to-back MVPs in Super Bowl 42 (Eli) and 41 (Peyton). Hines Ward (Georgia) was the MVP in Super Bowl 40. That was the second time the SEC produced 3 consecutive Super Bowl MVPs. No other league has managed more than 2 in a row.
Independent Power 5
Super Bowl MVPs: 12
Most recent: Deion Branch (Louisville), Super Bowl 39
Skinny: This catch-all group includes Notre Dame and BYU but also teams now in a Power 5 conference. Branch qualifies. He starred at Louisville when the Cards were in Conference USA. Notre Dame (more specifically, Joe Montana) won 3 of the 12 MVPs. Other notable winners in this group include Ray Lewis (Miami, Super Bowl 35), Steve Young (BYU, Super Bowl 29), Franco Harris (Penn State, Super Bowl 9) and Larry Csonka (Syracuse, Super Bowl 8).
Super Bowl MVPs: 10
Most recent: Joe Flacco (Delaware), Super Bowl 47
Skinny: Want star power? Surprisingly this group, which includes everything except Power 5s, has it. Terry Bradshaw (La. Tech) won 2 Super Bowl MVPs., Roger Staubach (Navy, Super Bowl 6) and Kurt Warner (Northern Iowa, Super Bowl 34) one each. This “others” group won 4 consecutive Super Bowl MVPs: Jerry Rice (Miss. Valley State, Super Bowl 23), Doug Williams (Grambling, Super Bowl 22), Phil Simms (Morehead State, Super Bowl 21) and Richard Dent (Tennessee State, Super bowl 20).
Note: There are 53 MVPs for 52 Super Bowls because Randy White and Harvey Martin shared the award in Super Bowl 12.