It’s a new dawn on NFL Thursday, as we simplify our second miniseries weekly entry considerably with the AFL-NFL merger. With just one league to evaluate now, we look at the Super Bowl MVP awards and the ROTY vote winners, on offense and defense—picking just one to stand tall above the others. Enjoy!
And if you’re game, check out our first miniseries entry on this year for context …
Super Bowl VI MVP: Roger Staubach, QB, Dallas (original); Duane Thomas, RB, Dallas (revised)
The Dallas Cowboys finally won their first NFL title after several seasons in a row of falling short; they beat the Miami Dolphins, 24-3, in a game that may have been more lopsided than the score indicated. The Cowboys out-gained the Dolphins, 352-185, and scored in every quarter to systematically dismantle Miami. The MVP nod went to Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach (119 passing yards, 2 touchdowns).
Defensively, it was a team effort for the Cowboys, but last year’s SB MVP vote winner—linebacker Chuck Howley—had a great game with an interception he returned 41 yards and a fumble recovery (but two tackles?). He might have deserved this award more, as a result. And while Staubach’s performance was fine, both his TD passes were from inside the 10-yard line, which doesn’t impress us.
Plus, his yards-per-attempt figure (6.26) is less than mediocre; running back Duane Thomas ran for 95 yards and a TD on just 19 carries, which is a better statistical day, in truth. He also added 17 yards in receptions, while the Dallas offense overall ran for 252 yards. That means Thomas (and the offensive line, really) had much more to do with the Cowboys’ success than Staubach did, on this specific day.
1971 NFL ROTY: John Brockington, FB, Green Bay & Isiah Robertson, LB, Los Angeles (original); Robertson (revised)
Green Bay Packers fullback John Brockington (1,203 scrimmage yards and 5 TDs) and Los Angeles Rams linebacker Isiah Robertson (4 sacks, 4 INTs) were voted top rookies, respectively; the latter was definitely the best defensive player, while San Francisco 49ers FB Vic Washington (1,128 scrimmage yards and 7 TDs) also stood out on offense.
The Packers were just 4-8-2, so that’s not good. The 49ers went 9-5 to win the NFC West Division by a half game over the 8-5-1 Rams. Yet Washington fumbled a whopping 10 times! He basically almost cost San Francisco a playoff spot. So, we’re going to elevate Robertson to the full winner of this award, for almost helping the Rams to the postseason.