Super Bowl XLV MVP: Ten Legit Longshots to Win The Top Player Award

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IFebruary 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV MVP: Ten Legit Longshots to Win The Top Player Award

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Brett Keisel #99 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the New York Jets during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    In 45 Super Bowls, 23 times a quarterback has been selected as the game's MVP.

    A distant second to the celebrated signal-callers would be the seven running backs followed by the six wide receivers who have been chosen.

    Both the Steelers and the Packers have plenty of players on both sides of the ball that will be likely candidates....Roethlisberger and Rodgers... Polamalu or Matthews...Driver or Ward.

    The following is a list of 10 of the long-shot candidates from both teams that might be selected as Super Bowl XLV's MVP. A list of players who could surprise the world with their high-impact play on the Cowboys Stadium turf.

Mason Crosby: Green Bay Packers Kicker

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 31: Mason Crosby #2 of the Green Bay Packers successfully kicks a field goal in the fourth quarter against the New York Jets on October 31, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Packers defea
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    With two strong defenses trying to impose their wills and stop the other team from getting to the end zone, the two teams' placekickers may be very critical in the outcome of Super Bowl XLV.

    Mason Crosby was a perfect 46-for-46 on PATs this year.

    He was 22-for-28 on FGs (78.6 percent) this season, with his longest coming from 56 yards.

    Crosby isn't a touch-back machine on his kickoffs, but if he can place the ball well, the Packers' kick coverage may help pin the Steelers deep in their own territory.

Shaun Suisham: Pittsburgh Steelers Kicker

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Kicker Shaun Suisham #6 of the Pittsburgh Steelers kicks an extra point against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    In a low scoring game, which Super Bowl XLV could turn out to be, every point counts.

    Every FG, every PAT, everything.

    Shaun Suisham has only been the Steelers kicker since Week 11. In the seven games that he kicked for Pittsburgh this season, Suisham has been money.

    He has made 14-of-15 FGs and all 19 of his PATs.

    He, like Crosby, is not a cannon-leg kicker. Out of 40 kickoffs in seven regular season games, Suisham only had two touchbacks.

Andrew Quarless: Green Bay Packers Tight End

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    ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  Andrew Quarless #81 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Packers won 48-21. (Photo by
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Out of the Packers elite-level starting receiving corps, Andrew Quarless is, by far, the least-known and least utilized among their top options.

    The 6'4", 252-pound rookie from Penn State caught 21 passes this season for 238 yards and 1 TD.

    If the Steelers can shut down Driver and Jennings, Quarless may be open for Rodgers to get the ball to and be the hero of the game.

Heath Miller: Pittsburgh Steelers Tight End

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 20: Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball from Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers during the game on December 20, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Ima
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Heath Miller is a more primary option of the ongoing Steeler game-plan than his Packer TE counterpart.

    Miller caught 42 passes this past year for 512 yards and two TDs.

    In 2009, when the Steelers faced the Packers in December, Miller had one of the big games of his career: seven catches for 118 yds.

    Maybe Roethlisberger will look again to make use of the big, six-year veteran from the University of Virginia.

Charlie Peprah: Green Bay Packers Strong Safety

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 31:  Charlie Peprah #26 of the Green Bay Packers in action against the New York Jets on October 31, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The Packers defeated the Jets 9-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Dallas-area native Charlie Peprah would love nothing more than to come home and have a huge game in the Super Bowl.

    The five-year veteran from the University of Alabama had 63 tackles and 2 interceptions this past season.

    In this year's three playoff games, Peprah has 15 tackles and 1 INT.

    Roethlisberger doesn't throw a lot of picks, but if Peprah gets one he could take it to the house.

Ryan Clark: Pittsburgh Steelers Free Safety

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Safety Ryan Clark #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs back the ball after an interception of quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens in the third quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Ryan Clark sometimes gets overshadowed by the Steelers other safety, Troy Polamalu.

    But Clark is a major force himself in the Pittsburgh defensive backfield.

    He had 90 tackles and 2 INTs this season.

    In this year's playoff game against Baltimore, Clark intercepted a pass and forced a fumble.

    The outcome of XLV could hinge on a timely turnover, and Clark could be the one who makes it happen. 

Tramon Williams: Green Bay Packers' Cornerback and Punt Returner

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers drops a punt against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Tramon Williams is a player who could affect the outcome of the game in multiple ways.

    He could do it with a timely hit, jarring the ball loose.

    He could pick off a pass late in the game.

    Or he could take a punt back all the way and break the game wide open.

    Williams was tied for fifth in the NFL this season with 6 INTs.

    He has added three more picks in the post-season, one of which he took back 70 yards for a TD against the Bears in the NFC Championship game.

Ike Taylor: Pittsburgh Steelers Cornerback

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 19:  Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets makes a catch in front of Ike Taylor #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 19, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Image
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Ike Taylor is another hard-hitting member of the Steelers defensive backfield who can suddenly impact the game.

    He had 66 tackles this season, along with 1 sack, 2 INTs and 1 forced fumble.

    Even when he doesn't cause a turnover, Taylor is excellent at deflecting passes.

    Who knows? If Green Bay is driving late in the game, a Taylor-tipped pass might be the difference between a win and a loss. 

Ryan Pickett: Green Bay Packers Defensive End

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    DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 12: Jahvid Best #44 of the Detroit Lions tries to get around the tackle of Ryan Pickett #79 of the Green Bay Packers on December 12, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Ryan Pickett is not a sleek, speed rusher.

    He is a big-bodied, nightmare for his opponents running attack and quarterbacks.

    At 6'2" 340 pounds, Pickett is one of the biggest DEs in the NFL.

    He picked up 32 tackles this season and had one sack.

    If Pickett disrupts the Steelers passing and running attack, and forces turnovers, he could have the Super Bowl-spotlight focused on him.

Brett Keisel: Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive End

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    FORT WORTH, TX - FEBRUARY 02:  Defensive end Brett Keisel #99 of the Pittsburgh Steelers gathers his beard in an elastic hairband while talking with the media on February 2, 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Green Bay Packer
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Brett Keisel may be better known for his facial hair than his play on the field.

    Many NFL players grow "playoff beards" to bring them good luck, but Keisel's has a significant following. His beard has its own Facebook page and Twitter account and has been mentioned repeatedly in the media during the Steelers' playoff run.

    All joking aside, Keisel was added to this year's AFC Pro Bowl roster for the first time in his career.

    During the 2010 season, he had 33 tackles, 3 sacks, forced two fumbles and intercepted a pass. 

    He could create considerable chaos in the Steelers backfield, and find himself...and The Beard...winning the XLV MVP Award.