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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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.

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