Tom Brady captured Super Bowl MVP honors as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the title but these five other players made a case for the game’s top individual award.
The Pete Rozelle Trophy — the trophy awarded to the Super Bowl MVP — is generally reserved for the winning team’s quarterback. For a game in which the hype was built around the quarterback matchup of Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes and with signal-callers taking home the award 31 out of the possible 55 times, it was apparent going into the game that one of the two would likely be receiving the award.
As fate would have it with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers victory, Tom Brady received his fifth Super Bowl MVP, the most of all time, further established himself as the greatest to play the game. Brady played with precision, managed the game well, got in the face of the Chiefs’ safety Tyrann Mathieu and, most importantly, played mistake-free football. He also joins Peyton Manning as the only two quarterbacks to win a championship with multiple teams.
In the same breath, the game was dominated by the Todd Bowles and the Buccaneer defense. Brady and the Bucs relied heavily on the run game and yards after the catch were critical to getting the job done. Championships are team efforts and here are five alternative Buccaneers players that also had an argument for Super Bowl MVP.
5. Rob Gronkowski, TE
Super Bowl stats: 6 receptions, 67 yards, 2 touchdowns
As he has been since day one, Rob Gronkowski was Brady’s security blanket the entire night. The duo connected for their 13th and 14th postseason touchdowns, the most all-time by two players, and converted back-breaking third downs thanks in large part to Gronkowski’s aggressive running after the catch.
In a game that saw Mike Evans and Chris Godwin largely held in check, it was old reliable No. 87 that carried the Tampa air attack.
However, where the stat sheet doesn’t reflect Gronk’s contributions is in the run game,= and the effort he put forth creating lanes for Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones to follow. Part of the Buccaneers’ effectiveness against Kansas City was keeping Mahomes off the field, most of which was done by running the ball and controlling the game clock.
Gronkowski did an awesome job setting the edge for a Tampa run attack that averaged 4.5 yards per carry and had a long of 27 yards. Coupled with his passing game usage, he clearly had a large hand in Tampa Bay’s drive to victory.