Super Bowl XLV: 10 Unsung Heroes Who Could Snag Super Bowl MVP Honors
We’ve seen it before.
With one game to win it all, all hands are on deck. Players come from obscurity to make household names for themselves in the biggest sporting event of the year.
The Super Bowl has hosted some of the single greatest moments in sports history.
You remember watching Super Bowl XLII?
Eli Manning avoids being sacked by the Patriots and heaves the ball down the field only for… David Tyree to catch the ball using the side of his helmet for support!?
Are you kidding me!?
A perennial special-teamer comes up with one of the biggest plays in Super Bowl history to help put the New York Giants in scoring position to take the lead over the undefeated powerhouse that was the New England Patriots!?
Tyree caught his only touchdown of the season in that game.
Eli Manning may have been selected over David Tyree for MVP honors, but we will never forget Tyree’s bizarre, out-of-this-world performance.
Which overlooked players could step up in Super Bowl XLV and steal the MVP award?
10. Cullen Jenkins, Green Bay Packers DE
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Jenkins had seven sacks this season so he could very well get after Ben Roethlisberger considering the Steelers’ offensive line woes.
Even better for Jenkins, all attention will be diverted to Clay Matthews and the Packers blitzers. This will leave Jenkins with one-on-one matches, which he could very well exploit.
Jenkins just needs to make sure he wraps up the massive force that is “Big” Ben Roethlisberger.
9. William Gay, Pittsburgh Steelers CB
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William Gay made a huge impact in the AFC Championship game, ultimately deciding the victory over the New York Jets.
Gay started in place of Bryant McFadden (abdomen) and it turned out just fine for the Steelers. Gay recovered a Mark Sanchez fumble and returned it for a touchdown in the 24-19 win.
McFadden is expected to be back for the Super Bowl, but if the Steelers decide to use Gay against James Jones or Jordy Nelson, he could come up with another big play for the Pittsburgh defense.
8. Sam Shields, Green Bay Packers CB
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Shields picked off Caleb Hanie in the NFC Championship to seal the win. Why shouldn’t the undrafted rookie go for two in a row?
Things work better in pairs, no?
Shields will be asked to cover whichever Pittsburgh receiver is in the slot.
This is the exact story we’re looking for in the Super Bowl.
Undrafted zero to Super Bowl hero.
7. Ziggy Hood, Pittsburgh Steelers DE
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The Steelers defense has not missed a beat with Aaron Smith out with a triceps injury. The defense may have actually played even better with Hood on the defensive line.
A first-round pick two years ago, Hood has four sacks in the past seven games, including a game-clincher in the AFC divisional win over the Baltimore Ravens.
With all of the attention placed on Troy Polamalu and the Steelers linebackers, Hood will have every opportunity to unleash his wrath on Aaron Rodgers.
6. Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers WR
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With the emergence of Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders has been an afterthought for the Steelers offense.
That’s exactly what we’re looking for here.
Sanders has come up big before, though, catching seven passes against the Jets in Week 15 and four receptions against the Ravens in the divisional win.
Sanders had two touchdowns this season. The Packers have an excellent secondary, but Sanders can get past them since he won’t receive much attention from the defense.
5. Andrew Quarless, Green Bay Packers TE
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The rookie tight end is actually very talented.
It’s just that nobody knows it.
Quarless has filled in for Jermichael Finley, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury early in the season. Finley is one of the most talented tight ends in the league and is often used as a safety net for Aaron Rodgers in the red zone and whenever a big play is needed.
Quarless has yet to be used in that role.
What better time than the Super Bowl?
4. LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers LB
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LaMarr Woodley has received little praise this postseason. It’s as if he’s the baby brother among the four remarkable Steelers linebackers.
Woodley is going to be after Aaron Rodgers all night. The Packers will be worrying about James Harrison, but Woodley could be the most destructive force for the Steelers during Super Bowl XLV.
Woodley had 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and one touchdown this season.
He has 39 sacks and three defensive touchdowns for his career.
If I were on the Green Bay offense, I’d know exactly where Woodley is on each and every play.
3. Brandon Jackson, Green Bay Packers RB
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Jackson may have been the unsung hero for the Packers all season. Jackson does not have starter talent in this league, but was asked to carry the load for the Packers rushing attack after Ryan Grant went down with an injury in Week 1.
Jackson is a decent pass blocker, but more importantly, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, something Grant rarely did for Green Bay.
Jackson has been supplanted by rookie James Starks as far as being the work horse goes, but Jackson will still be used heavily on third downs. Jackson will be used as a primary check-down option for Rodgers and could take any of them to the house.
2. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers WR
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Antonio Brown could be the one man the Steelers look to for the big play during Super Bowl XLV.
The Packers should already know about this man following his big catch against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC divisional win.
The Steelers have been known to use trickery in the past, and with Brown’s speed, it could turn in epic dividends against Green Bay.
1. James Jones, Green Bay Packers WR
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Jones emerged this season for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Jones has big-play potential, but could also be used as a possession receiver as well. He has solid hands and very good speed.
With Greg Jennings commanding most of the attention, Jones can be seen all over the field. What I like most about Jones is that he’s a tough receiver. He can take a lick and keep on trucking down the field.
These Pittsburgh linebackers and safeties don’t scare Jones.