Heading into Super Bowl XLVIII, there are three frontrunners to win the game’s MVP award. Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are all solid candidates to win the honor, but if the award goes to someone else, who could that be? Here’s five under-the-radar candidates that could steal the show on the big day.
1) Percy Harvin, WR, Seahawks
With Percy Harvin being cleared for the Super Bowl, the Seahawks will get a homerun threat back on their offense. Since Harvin hasn’t been able to get on the field for the Seahawks for any extended period of time this season, it’s hard to tell exactly what he’ll be able to do for his team.
The fact that he hasn’t contributed to the Seahawks offense much may actually give him an advantage against the Broncos’ secondary. Jack Del Rio’s defense may not know exactly what to do with Harvin, and any gaps in coverage may be able to exploit by Harvin and quarterback Wilson.
2) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Broncos
Only one cornerback in NFL history has ever won an award for being the Super Bowl MVP. Still, Rodgers-Cromartie is the Broncos’ best CB, and with a young quarterback running the Seahawks’ offense, Rodgers-Cromartie may have a few opportunities to make some huge plays.
Rodgers-Cromartie is also working under a veteran defensive coordinator that knows how to switch up coverages to make a big play. Del Rio won’t sit back and give Wilson exactly what the Seahawks are expecting all game long. If the Broncos switch up their defense just a bit, Rodgers-Cromartie is likely the player they’ll be looking towards to make a big play.
3) Zach Miller, TE, Seahawks
The Seahawks run a very streaky offense, but with good weather, that shouldn’t be a huge problem against the Broncos, who have a suspect defense at times. With Harvin likely back for the Super Bowl, the Broncos will have to adjust to account for a homerun threat being on the field. That may leave some room open for Miller to leave his mark.
Miller hasn’t been a huge factor in the Seahawks’ offense most of the year, but he’s been solid when his quarterback has needed him. If Miller isn’t being adequately covered by the Broncos, the Seahawks are smart enough to take advantage.
4) Wes Welker, WR, Broncos
Big things come in little packages, and no one exemplifies that statement more than Welker. Although he’ll be completely on the Seahawks’ radar heading into the game, he’ll still be able to do work for Manning and the Broncos’ offense.
Welker’s value, however, may not be exclusive to catching the ball and running after the catch. As a decoy, the Broncos may be able to use him in uncovering other receivers. That won’t win him any awards, but if he’s able to block and be effective with the ball in his hands, don’t be surprised to see Welker win a Super Bowl MVP award for himself.
5) Matt Prater, K, Broncos and Steven Hauschka, K, Seahawks
Playing a Super Bowl in a cold weather climate is a gamble by the NFL, and there’s no denying the possibility that the game could feature poor conditions for the passing game. That possibility combined with the Seahawks’ ability to stop other teams as well as their inability to punch it into the red zone could produce far more field goals than we’re expecting.
In this scenario, kickers may become the most important weapons on the field. Both Prater and Hauschka have had solid seasons to this point, and should one of them knock four field goals through the uprights in the big game, a kicker could be the Super Bowl MVP