We took a week off here, but we’re back here on NFL Thursday this week with another assessment of the Super Bowl MVP Award: So far, we’ve confirmed only 14 of 32 vote winners from Super Sunday matchups. As for the Rookie of the Year awards, we have a special year here in which two future Hall of Famers are up for analysis—the first time that has happened since 1993.
Enjoy our contributions to revisionist sports history!
Super Bowl XXXIII MVP: John Elway, QB, Denver (original); Rod Smith, WR, Denver (revised)
The Denver Broncos won their second consecutive Super Bowl, beating the Atlanta Falcons readily, 34-19, in a game that wasn’t that close at all. It was 31-6 at one point in the fourth quarter, before Denver’s defense let up a little bit. Legendary Broncos quarterback John Elway won the MVP vote, by throwing for 336 yards and a touchdown, while also tossing an interception and running for another score.
Loyal readers know we do not like INTs from our MVPs: Denver had two other offensive stars who deserve more consideration. Running back Terrell Davis (152 total yards) and wide receiver Rod Smith (152 total yards, 1 TD) definitely are worthy of the award, while defensive back Darrien Gordon had two INTs and 108 return yards. In the end, we like Smith for this award, and here is why.
The Falcons scored first, with a field goal built off a great kickoff return, but the Broncos responded with a TD drive, thanks to a 41-yard catch by Smith. Later, with a 10-3 lead, and coming off a missed FG by Atlanta, Smith then caught an 80-yard scoring pass to break open the game and all but bury the Falcons psychologically. Those two big catches were backbreakers for the Falcons. Hence, our MVP decision.
1998 NFL ROTY: Randy Moss, WR, Minnesota & Charles Woodson, CB, Oakland (original); Moss (revised)
Randy Moss set the league on fire as a rookie WR with 17 TD catches, leading the Minnesota Vikings to a 15-1 record—a six-win improvement over the prior season. Charles Woodson (5 INTs) helped the Oakland Raiders improve four wins to 8-8, but the Silver & Black still missed the playoffs. Do we consider anyone else but Moss for this award?
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Fred Taylor (1,644 total yards with 17 TDs) had an immediate impact, as did Green Bay Packers defensive end Vonnie Holliday (8 sacks in 12 games). Strangely, the Jags won the same number of games (11) before Taylor showed up; otherwise, we’d give his season the edge on Moss’ effort, in truth. The Pack dropped 2 more games with Holliday on defense, so we stick with Moss here.