Super Bowl MVP 2013: Dark-Horse Candidates from Both Teams

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 15:   Cary Williams #29 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates their 20-13 win over the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Even the most obscure player has a chance to have his name listed among the greatest players in history by winning MVP of Super Bowl XLVII.

Reputation counts quite a bit when it comes to an award like this. By virtue of only being one game, though, the Super Bowl allows the likes of Desmond Howard, Mark Rypien and Harvey Martin to be on the same list as Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and John Elway.

Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Frank Gore, Ray Lewis and Colin Kaepernick are the favorites to win MVP this year. Along with them, here are four other players who shouldn't be discounted when considering the possible candidates.


Jacoby Jones, WR/KR, Baltimore Ravens

Jacoby Jones was seldom-used in the Ravens offense during the regular season. Outside of the 70-yard touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos in the divisional round, Jones has been relatively quiet in the postseason as well.

One of the areas where he can make a major impact, though, is in the return game.

Jones averaged 30.7 yards per kick return during the regular season, scoring two touchdowns. One of those returns went for 108 yards, which tied the NFL record.

It wouldn't be the first time a kick returner won the award. Howard took home the MVP award from Super Bowl XXXI largely in part to his work in the return game.


Cary Williams, CB, Baltimore Ravens

With one key interception, Cary Williams could turn this game on its head. Jake Scott, Larry Brown and Dexter Jackson were all players whose defensive exploits earned them MVP honors. Williams could be the next name on that list.

He's had a very productive postseason, recording 18 tackles and two interceptions.

The Ravens are the underdogs in this game. In most cases, underdogs are able to come out victorious as a result of winning the turnover battle.

Williams can ensure that happens and maybe take home some silverware while he's at it.


Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers

This would have to be the likeliest of the four players listed. Vernon Davis' 548 yards receiving were second on the 49ers during the regular season.

San Francisco doesn't have a deep group of receivers, so it's like Davis acts as a bit of a wideout at times.

Despite not being targeted as much as some of the more premier tight ends in the league, Davis' 13.4 yards per catch were fourth among the tight ends who qualified.

He's been willing to take a bit of a backseat in the 49ers offense. Davis has the ability make a big play down the stretch that could turn the tide for San Francisco.


Aldon Smith, OLB, San Francisco 49ers

Despite being one of the best pass-rushers in the league, Aldon Smith has been relatively quiet lately. He hasn't recorded a sack since Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins. It's a stat many have been quick to point out to him in the buildup to the Super Bowl.

By getting after Flacco, Smith has the ability to throw off the Ravens offense. The quarterback is a big part of Baltimore's improbable playoff run. No defense yet has been able to shut him down.

In addition, no team has really been able to hassle Flacco all that much. He's had a lot of time in the pocket to pick apart opposition secondaries. It's the kind of time that would be deadly for the 49ers as well.